"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
September 10, 2012
Looking through a Different Lens
by Kathryn H. Kidd

If you think you have problems, sometimes you just need a different perspective.

As I have become less and less portable over the years, there have been times when it’s been pretty easy to feel sorry for myself. One of those places is in the temple.

When we first started working there in 1995, I was a veritable gazelle (albeit a large one). I could gracefully go wherever I was needed and do whatever I was called upon to do. I reveled in the variety of the assignments I was able to carry out. In fact, the ones I didn’t like were the ones where I just stood there — when I was a hostess, for example, or when I was in the celestial room. Doing initiatory work was my favorite. Even though it was the most grueling, it came with the most rewards.

The years have changed all that. Gone are the days when I can do most of the assignments I used to enjoy so much. Doing initiatory work is a dim memory. Other than doing an occasional endowment session, I spend most of my time being a hostess or being in the celestial room (sitting in both places because I can’t stand for long periods of time), or at the office switchboard. If I want to think of rewarding temple work, I remember days that are long gone by.

Just about the scariest thing all week is for me to contemplate the long walk from the temple front door to my dressing room locker. Talk about a long walk! Fluffy gets as close to the door as he can drop me off. I walk inside and often have to stop and rest just inside the door. If that bench is occupied, you’d think it was the end of the world!

After showing my temple recommend at the recommend desk, I hurry around the corner and collapse in a chair that is at the entrance to the “bridge” between the entrance and the temple itself. After I have caught my breath, I try to go to the end of the bridge without stopping to rest again. This is not easy, and I usually stopped midway until the temple presidency changed the furniture arrangement and made it hard to get to those resting chairs. These days I try to plow through until I reach a chair that is right under a portrait of President Uchtdorf. I rest there so often that when Fluffy drops me off he says, “I’ll meet her at Dieter.”

I usually have to stop and rest once more before getting to my locker room, and then I rest again before I change my clothes. I rest again after going back into the hallway, where I meet up with Fluffy and we discuss our evening’s assignments before beginning our work.

The other big trek involves going to the fourth floor for temple worker preparation meeting. Oh, do I dread that! The meeting used to be in room 4, which was already a hike. A few years ago it was moved to room 3, which doesn’t seem that far beyond room 4 to most people. For me, it’s like doing a triathlon instead of “just” a marathon. On bad days, I feel persecuted to have to walk that extra hundred or so feet. When some of my resting chairs were taken out recently to be reupholstered, I considered skipping preparation meeting altogether. Why, oh why, couldn’t they just move that meeting back to room 4, where it used to be?

What I needed was a little perspective. Thanks to a gift from a friend, I got it.

The gift was a book about the life of F. Enzio Busche, Yearning for the Living God . I cannot recommend it highly enough. One reviewer at Amazon said the book should be on every bookshelf, and I agree. What a treasure!

The story I’m writing about today occurred shortly after Busche and his wife were baptized as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There was a woman in their home congregation who looked and smelled like a witch. Her body was bent and deformed, and she always wore the same black dress to complement her unwashed and uncombed witch’s hair. She tried to befriend the Busches, but it wasn’t easy because members kept the two apart for fear that she would scare off the two new converts.

As Busche got to know her, he learned that the reason she always wore the same black dress was that it was the only article of clothing she had, and that the reason she never washed the dress or herself was that she had no access to running water. In addition, despite her difficulties in walking she walked two hours each way to church every Sunday — in the rain or the snow or the heat.

Busche and his wife realized that walking so far to church was a huge hardship for someone who had physical disabilities that made every step painful for her. They decided that even though it was far out of their way, they could afford the extra half hour every morning that it would take to pick her up and take her to church.

When Busche told the woman his plan, she was horrified. She said:

Brother Busche, you cannot do this to me. I’m an old lady. How can I ever show the Lord how much I love Him, how much I adore Him, how much I depend on His atoning sacrifice for my salvation, and my desire to serve Him? I’m too old and too ugly and too forgetful to serve as the Relief Society president or even as a teacher. The greatest joy of my life is on Sunday when I can get up early in the morning walk to church, and take the sacrament. Yes, it is a long walk and, yes, my legs hurt and my back hurts, but every step I rejoice. Every tree and every shrub is my friend. I know every person behind every window. I greet them all with my heart and with my testimony. As I walk, I sing the hymns and when I arrive, I’m through the hymnbook and my heart is full of joy and gratitude because my walk is a celebration of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. And you want to take this away from me? You can’t do this to me. Let me walk.”

And I whine about walking from the front door of the temple to my dressing room a hundred yards or so away.

Reading that passage made me realize what a small sacrifice I’m making, even though it seems like a big one for me. Next time I contemplate taking that long walk in the temple (or doing anything that seems almost impossible for me to do), I hope to remember that long-dead lady. She may have been repugnant to the world around her, but I’m sure the Savior thinks of her as one of His most stalwart servants. If I can attain even a fraction of what she did in this life, I will have considered my own life’s journey an unqualified success.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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