Maybe pilgrimage would be a better word. We went to Washington D.C. on Friday morning to see the Washington D.C. temple. This was a big deal.
It was a big deal because ever since I was a child, I've really wanted to see the inside of this temple. The temple's ground breaking was when I was six months old and it was dedicated when I was 6.5 years old. I remember driving past it and seeing it out of the back of my Dad's car. It's an awe-inspiring view, even from the freeway.
It's a big deal because if you're LDS, you want to go to the temple for your Endowments and to be Sealed to your family.
So we went, in weather that had cancelled school for the kids (we left them with friends at home and followed Justin & Sarah, our friends from Vermont) and that was so bad I honestly wondered if we'd make it alive to Altoona, but that turned to rain once we were past Tyrone, and we got to the temple right on time.
I know you'll want to know what the interior looks like. No cameras are allowed and the Sacred nature of the place prohibits me going into much detail about the experience, but there are lots of photographs taken of various temples after construction and before dedication or rededication, and this website has done a nice job of scanning them and showing them. Click around and read what this fellow has to say about the Temple. Pictures specific to the Washington D.C. temple are in the bride's room and baptistry section.
I found the first day a little overwhelming. By the time we left for dinner I was exhausted and just wanting to get to bed. We were staying with relatives of our Bishop who lived in Maryland, about 40 minutes from the Temple. We arrived at their house about 9:00 pm and visited with them for awhile. They were VERY nice people and staying with them helped make the trip possible. In the morning, Jolynn made us a fantastic breakfast (a german pancake. I need to google up the recipe.) and then we went back to the temple.
We went to the distribution center, which is in the basement of the temple, and bought more garments. Then we heard there was an LDS bookstore nearby, and since we were running ahead of schedule, we decided to make a run for it. We went, bought Christmas stocking stuffers and a few study guides, and then went back to the temple. It was time for the sealing.
We happened to be in the foyer when the kids arrived with Sherri G and the Bishop and his wife. Some of the women from the ward were there and Mike P and Brandy and Eric H were there, too. It was the perfect number of people. Sarah was my escort again and Justin and the Bishop were witnesses. The Sealer was an older man who gave a very nice talk to us at the start of the session. It was what you'd expect at the start of any marriage ceremony, really. We were sealed first and then the children were sealed to us. That's how it's done when your children are born before you are sealed together. If we were to have children from this point on, they would be born in the covenant and not need to be sealed to us. The ceremony is a lot like a regular marriage ceremony, but more intimate, and honestly--very brief. The ceremony doesn't negate or undo our civil marriage. If you were one of the 80 or so friends and relatives who attended our marriage in Sonoma, we didn't do anything that detracted from that--just added to it.
The day was lovely and before we left I added a few names to the prayer rolls. Just women I've had in my thoughts.
Afterwards we took a few pictures outside the temple. Then we hurried home to be there in time for Becca, Sarah's sister who lives locally, to come over. We had a nice dinner of soup, bread, and salad and cinnamon rolls for dessert.
There were so many people who made the trip possible. Gaye, who paid for gas, The C's, with whom we stayed overnight, Sarah & Justin, the Bishop, Lana and Sherri and their families, who cared for the kids Friday and Friday night and got them to the temple in time, Brandy and Eric, who came all the way down with their kids and went through the endowments and sealing with us, only to get in a fender bender, and so many more who were supportive and enthusiastic for us. We had a great time and we are so grateful.