Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My thoughts on the fire, or how the fire made me feel.

Sad. Sad and also stirred. Stirred by this reminder of how fragile everything is. How quickly things can change. Then surprise by how sad I was, how I couldn't get the fire out of my head. I was in New York with one of my best friends, but that was all I could think about. I imagined my ward friends being evacuated to watch the flames engulf the building where we worshiped every week, to see the roof collapse onto the chapel where they had been sitting only 15 minutes before. I wondered how they felt.

The next day there was a special ward family home evening. I got off the bus from New York to Boston and went straight there, despite the fact that I was weary, and hungry, and hadn't eaten since breakfast. Katie came too. Straight from her own travels on the west coast. So neither of us had been present for the fire, but wanted to be with those who had. The family home evening was somewhat reminiscent of a girl's camp testimony meeting in its sentimentality and sensationalism, but was strangely powerful, and extremely meaningful to me.

I listened to my fellow ward members speak about that day or that building--memories they formed there, or testimonies, as well as their personal relationships with God and with each other. I realized that I knew not all, but most of their names. I cared about their sorrow, and the loss they felt. This was important to me, this caring, because while there are many good things to say about the east coast, this transition has been a hard one for me, and this experience suggested that I had a place here, not only in the church (which was a well timed revelation in itself), but in Boston.

Some words shared that evening that left an impression on me:

"How interesting it is that we can have sorrow for a building...what is a temple? What is that building? ... It's the ordinances that make it of value." - a girl I don't know.

"That no one got hurt at all." -Luke Stoddard

"At first I thought it doesn't matter, its just a building. If we keep it or not its going to be okay in the long run... after going to work today and receiving condolences, got to the place that other people started. I'm really sad that we lost this building... I'm sadder today than I was yesterday... I am glad I could help last night. It reminded me of my mission which was hard too but I got through it... the first time I stepped foot in that building.. (how he didn't feel like he had a place as a member. And how he didn't think that he changed but in coming to Boston he saw that there were others like him.)
... I said a prayer a couple of months ago that if I needed to be here He needed to pull me back." -Jared Mooney

"Something good about being misplaced." -Allen Stoddard

"We're going to bloom where we are planted. I love those tulips because they're not where they belong. The Lord gives and the Lord taketh away. He moves people... Things that are strong and so fragile but stayed there (about flowers)." -Evie

"A really profound sense of loss. My spiritual home. My relationships haven't changed. I still have the memories that happened there. I still have the testimony I strengthened in that building." -my roommate Erin

Jared Mooney's words were particularly poignant to me. A few tears escaped my eyes as I listened to him describe some of my own feelings. I was left with a desire to try again. To pray a real prayer and ask for God to help me.

Other words, my own. Ones I quickly tapped out on my ipod when still consumed by this, days and even weeks later, less articulate, but still capturing something:

May 31 10:27 pm
"This gathering place for the saints. It wasn't arson. It wasn't a mob. It was just old. So why does it matter? Why do places or things matter? Because of what's inside. The people. The words spoken. The truths taught. The faith shared. Where I stood at a pulpit and testified of heavenly mother. Where I made a friend because of that testimony. Memories associated with it.

But we still have that. We still have everything that matters.

The building that we love is burned. It is no more except for the brick wall and the steeple. They saved the steeple."

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