sacred places.

days and weeks seem to be racing by. we sit on the crisp eve of october and already the trees are changing. soon, we’ll be able to see the lake from our window once all the leaves have fallen. we push forward. we work, we eat, we sleep and then we do it all over again. every day much like the last. weeks differ in their intensity, engagements and requirements. my nights and weekends get eaten up by planning and meetings and phone calls and preparation — all in an effort to essentially keep a group of teenage girls focused on christ.

who is your youth minister? my coworker asks. though we use different vocabulary, that is what i am.

you should get a job with your church, she says. i explain i have one, but it’s not paid.

ministering is an interesting concept. i have grown up learning to minister, first in my family, then my church family. i expanded. i practiced it in different cities, states and countries. all of that woven together makes the tapestry of me.

i taught the girls yesterday. i’m not sure how well it was received as they appeared to have inhaled pixi-sticks immediately before entering the classroom. i attempted to teach them dating standards and preparation for marriage. heavy topics for the younger girls, while beyond relevant for the older ones. i wanted them to understand that every life, every girl is different and the choices they make now have rippling effects on the rest of their lives. they read several short bios of women at church. they had to guess who belonged to which life. 9 different women living 9 different lives. a common thread ran through those bios: service, travel, missions, schooling, careers and children. while one was married at 20 and one married at 40, all completed school. all were married in the temple. it was impressive to me at least. i wanted to open their eyes to the fact that while marriage and family are a goal to work towards, we work towards it. we have much of life to live before, after and during.

i realized that different places in my life are an important part of who i am. they make up my experience, my loves and my life. i caught a glimpse of a beautiful documentary on kbyutv. it flashed across briefly but left a deep impression on me. it was called “sacred places” and i think that is essentially what makes up each of us, our figurative and literal sacred places.

a few of my sacred places pictured above: 1. Rockingham County (VA) Courthouse, South Face, 2. The Awakening 4, 3. Mesa Arizona Temple, 4. 03-10-07_1302, 5. Gasworks Towers at Night, 6. Teotihuacan, 7. BYU Bell Tower, 8. n8812549_41262463_9056, 9. Best Diner, 10. white dove of the desert, 11. iwo jima memorial, 12. Beira – Farol da Macuti, 13. Volcanes estilo Windows / Volcanoes Windows Style (Desde Puebla), 14. Powell’s City of Books, 15. Rosslyn, 16. Seattle, what’s with the Teriyaki joints?, 17. Iron And Wine ACL Austin City Limits Festival 2006 “Iron And Wine”, 18. route 66. meteor crater, az. 2007., 19. La catedral, 20. patriota, 21. Saguaros 

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7 thoughts on “sacred places.

  1. >Unfortunately our society is such that the most important decisions for life are made between the ages of 15 and 21. I am not sure I would go to a 15 year old for advice on how to decide my life’s path, but that is what it is! The years you are dealing with are critically important for those kids.That bell tower, by the way, (the picture to the left of the fruit), is in the Lee/Custis mansion front yard. One of my elementary schools (no apostrophe) was right beside it and we used to recess at that site all the time. It is a fairly sacred place, honoring many, many fallen heroes. I have fond memories.My former school is now a huge 25-story apartment building, and the tower is lost in its shadow, but that is a different story…

  2. >the theme in sacrament mtg for talks has been the family proclamation (for about the last 2-3 mos). a few sundays ago a lady told her marriage story. it reminded me a bit like the dr. seuss book, “are you my mother?”…she was given one of those lessons in yw were you are supposed to list all the qualities you want in your future husband. she compared every guy she dated to that list. and with every guy she dated, she asked herself, “could this be my husband?” she dated a lot and got older and was getting really worried about not being married. she prayed a lot for patience and for the lord to prepare the right man for her. when she turned 20 (yeah…20…my jaw dropped when she said this, after having just explained she waited so long…) her bishop pulled her aside and asked if she’d serve a mission. she adamantly refused, telling her bishop she was going to get married. a year later she did end up going on a mission. she emphasized how much the mission prepared her for marriage. when she got home she went to byu and began dating again, asking herself again, “is he my husband?” she attended a fireside and a male quartet was singing. she looked at the men singing and thought, “is one of them my husband?” turns out one of them was…hearing this come across the pulpit really aggravated me for some reason…i think you caught it in this beautiful blog. every life is different, every road different, and it’s so essential to remember experience a leads to experience b, and you wouldn’t fully understand or appreciate experience c without having first gone through a and b…if that makes sense. on one hand i understand the emphasis on dating and marriage, but on the other…do we really have to have bridal shows in high school? do we really have to make a list of qualities? do we really have to ask every single guy we date if he’s our future husband?! i wrote a list of lessons i’d learned on my mission, and not one of them was “prepared for marriage”–i grew in so many ways, and marriage was the furthest thing from my mind…maybe it should have been closer? i don’t know. why can’t experiences be for yourself, for the sake of learning, for the sake of spiritual growth, for the sake of serving someone else, for the sake of approximating yourself with the lord…why is there always an ulterior motive of marriage?!

  3. >Beautiful post, Robin! I love how you approached the lesson for the girls. I think it's so important for these girls to understand that they first and foremost need to have a strong relationship with their Savior and to be "seeking, receiving, and acting" upon personal revelation (as Julie Beck recently phrased it). If that is their focus instead of obsessing over dating, relationships, & marriage, I think they will be in a much healthier place. I'd rather see them focus on becoming the best that they can be through developing their talents, studying, & serving others than consumed with non-stop thinking about relationships (or the sore lack thereof)!I definitely spent way too much time obsessing over those things and wondering why I wasn't getting married in my early 20s. Too much wasted energy!!! I did some great things during my single years, but I know I could have done more had I not been so consumed about getting married. Marriage for me ultimately happened when I was ready but NOT looking for it.

  4. >ahhh yes….the dating standards talk. I had to give that one a few weeks ago. I thought I might make a point to bring in a gossip magazine with Miley Cyrus on the front with the words, “Is Miley growing up too fast?!” sprawled across the front. It had an inset of Jamie Lynn Spears holding her new baby. I asked them if this magazine would be the place to find great dating advice (“no, that’s “Seventeen” magazine,” they aptly pointed out) I meant to make the point that things like this would not teach them how to become “women of God” but all they ended up doing was asking me if they could borrow that magazine after class to read during sacrament. where did I go wrong? I am SO not ready to be a mom of a teenager.

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