Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hermana Salazar

From Sherryl's journal - 14 December 2013

When I am assigned to be the “greeter” at the temple, I stand by the front door and look out of the etched glass to see the buildings made of cement.  I see the people’s clean laundry hanging out to dry on the porches, on the roofs, outside the houses.  I see the palm trees waving in the breeze.  I see cars going by and the many city buses and taxis darting in and out of the traffic.  I wait to see someone walk through the parking lot and up the long driveway to the temple.  I wait.  A workman arrives in his truck wearing his jeans.  A sister comes in a taxi that brings her to the front door.  She pays the driver and walks up the stairs.  Another sister gets off the city bus and slowly walks towards the temple carrying a grocery bag in her hand.  She doesn’t have groceries in the bag, but her white temple clothes.  Two sisters walk together through the parking lot and up the long sidewalk talking as they come.  I wait. A brother arrives in a white shirt and tie.  Everyone is different and arrives how they can make it to the temple.  They arrive and I greet them and thank them for coming with a smile, a handshake, and sometimes, a kiss on the cheek.  Then the wonder of the temple begins and they all change into their white clothes and we are all the same.  The world outside doesn’t matter any more.

I think of Sister Salazar who serves in the temple as an ordinance worker like me.  She is efficient and knows how the temple is to function.  She knows the patrons by name and greets them.  She performs each ordinance lovingly and not with haste.  She has come to the temple to serve in any position or situation in which she is needed.  She does what she is asked to do as it is to be done.  I admire Sister Salazar.  I can learn from her.  I try not to think of Sister Salazar’s black and worn and misshapen shoes neatly placed in a corner in the sister ordinance workers’ dressing room but I see them. I see the extra white cardboard she has placed inside her shoes to protect her feet and perhaps to cover a hole. I see her thin dress.  I see her worn sweater.  She tells me that she places her clothes on top of the lockers provided for workers so they can dry from the humidity and be ready to wear when she leaves the temple.  I try not to imagine what Sister Salazar’s life is like outside the time we are in the temple.  We don’t talk much because we are here to serve.  I try not to remember that another ordinance worker told me that Sister Salazar has to travel to the end of some far bus route and then gets off and walks twelve more blocks to get to her home.   Her return trip is the same with a long walk and a long bus ride each time she comes to serve in the temple…but she comes.  Once she arrives at the temple, we are the same.  We are both temple ordinance workers.  The world outside the temple doesn’t matter any more while we are serving together inside…that is the wonder and blessing of the temple.

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