"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
September 4, 2013
Construction Row
by College Voices
Michela Hunter
Sophomore, Brigham Young University

Last year, when I lived in the new Heritage dorms on campus, I used to take advantage of a sparsely-scheduled Tuesday to walk to the temple to do baptisms every week. It was only about a twenty-minute walk, and I liked to go alone in the middle of the day, while most other students were in class.

It meant that the baptistry would be much emptier, and on many occasions it gave me some much-needed time to myself to think, during the walk up, while inside the temple, and on the walk back. I figured that I probably wouldn’t ever live this close to a temple again, even during later years at school, so I’d better take advantage of its proximity while I could.

I didn’t think about it then, but in retrospect, I took for granted that short, sweet, non-encumbered walk I used to take from my apartment in the new Heritage dorms to the temple every week. My new apartment is just a little farther down the street, but in my absence over the summer, construction has sprung up in many places around this particular edge of campus, rendering many of the familiar routes I used to take around the area useless.

It was a sticky, hot August day last week, and I had just moved all my stuff into my apartment. Because I had to be on campus to meet with my boss for work, I decided, since I had nothing better to do, to walk up to the temple and to do baptisms after I’d finished.

I knew there was some construction going on around the BYU Creamery, so I headed through Heritage Halls, gawking at the brand new dorms that had, this time just last year, been nothing more than the skeletal frameworks of buildings. It felt so weird being back and seeing how much had changed over just one summer.

When I emerged from among the buildings onto the street I would normally take to get to the temple, I stopped, confused. Where there would have been a sidewalk there was only a gravel-filled pit running alongside the street, complete with orange cones and a fence to keep ordinary people out. There was absolutely nowhere to walk without getting hit by the cars that were whizzing by.

My eyes scanned the section of road and then the field by the Conference Center where I was standing, looking for a gap in the fence where the sidewalk might have been left untouched. I wondered if maybe, since the sidewalk looked to be impassable, I should just turn around and head home. But I had been so looking forward to going to the temple today. I didn’t want to just turn around and go home now.

Finally, I saw a spot on the other side of the field where I thought I might be able to get past the fence and to the street I needed. I headed across the field, hoping that the sidewalk on the other side wasn’t torn up as well.

It wasn’t, and I excitedly hurried down it towards the street I needed to get to walk to the temple. My excitement was short-lived, however, when the sidewalk came to an abrupt end just before I reached the intersection I needed to cross.

The sidewalk construction ran on indefinitely in both directions on my side of the street. The sidewalk on the side opposite me looked intact — but how was I supposed to get there? I could see no crosswalk and there was nowhere to wait for the light to change without getting squashed.

I sighed in frustration. This shouldn’t be that difficult! I was hot and disheveled, not to mention covered in sweat from the sun, and I was sure I was beginning to burn. I supposed I would have to turn around and go home.

I hovered there undecidedly, not wanting to turn back but not wanting to brave the unpredictable intersection. I looked over in the direction of the temple — I could just see the top of the spire above the trees. I was so close. I couldn’t give up now.

I got as close to the street as I could without falling into the gutted sidewalk or the road and watched the traffic lights. When they turned red, I sprinted across the street (or as close to sprinted as I could in a skirt). I got to the sidewalk just as the lights turned green again.

I was flushed and sweating even more now but triumphant: as far as I could tell, there was no construction on the sidewalk on my side of the road. I practically skipped down the sidewalk, happy that I wasn’t going to have to turn around after all. 

When I finally got to the temple, sweaty, exhausted and feeling more than a little sunburnt, I wondered for one moment if the baptistry would even be open. There didn’t seem to be many people around.

But when I walked downstairs I saw that the baptistry was indeed open, though it seemed like it was pretty empty. Two elderly temple workers dressed in white were standing talking at the recommend desk. They looked up as I came down the stairs, and their faces lit up.

“Hello,” one of them said cheerfully to me. “We’ve been waiting for you!” 

I smiled as I pulled out my recommend and handed it to the man behind the desk. It was so good to be back in Provo.

It seems silly to me now that something as simple as construction could have such a huge impact on my walk to the temple. I didn’t know beforehand that I was going to have to alter my route so drastically and take an extra twenty minutes to get there. I’ll still probably try to go every week, but now that I know where the construction is, it’ll be much easier to avoid it in the future.

I thought a lot as I was walking to the temple that day about how similar my situation was, in a lot of ways, to reaching spiritual goals. For me, the construction was more of a puzzle than a real challenge: how to get to the temple, despite there being (seemingly) no way to walk there?

It wasn’t too difficult, once I had navigated my way through the construction; but while I was stuck, it suddenly seemed like too much work to get past the orange cones and as though the better option would be to turn around and go home. 

We all have challenges like this that will inevitably crop up and stand in the way as we try to progress in our spiritual growth. They might be inconveniences, obstacles, trials, guilt over past sins. Often they can get discouraging. They can make it seem like it is impossible to get to where we want to be — like it is easier and makes more sense to stay put or move backwards rather than to try to change and progress. 

Though the adversary seems to have no end of construction projects to throw in and disrupt our path, it is ultimately our decision to keep moving and look for ways around them. Once we do this, navigating the challenges will become easier, until at last the way is clear. 


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