"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." (Ps. 27: 4)
When I was 18, I visited the Orem, UT ward I'd grown up in for the first time in six years. Those six years had changed a lot: a tight subdivision of condos had replaced what used to be orchards at the end of the once-dead-end street I grew up on, so the ward had a lot of new people I didn't know. Also: I was at least a foot taller and had grown long hair and beard, which made the child in me a little hard to notice on an impromptu visit.
The first person to recognize me, despite all the differences, was my childhood friend Reed. Most of my old friends had moved away to college by then, but Reed has Down Syndrome and still lived with his parents. The beard and hair didn't fool him one bit: he knew me on the very first glance, whispered across the chapel "James!"
A few years later, I got word that Reed was serving a church service mission and wrote him a letter. He wrote back. I didn't talk to him for quite a while after that, but would think of him sometimes, tell my wife about him when we'd pass my old neighborhood.
Today, I went to the church distribution store to pick up some things for my younger brother, who is currently in the Missionary Training Center. A man in the store looked like Reed's dad, but I shrugged it off as nostalgia playing with my perceptions. But then next to him was Reed, and I knew Reed for sure right away.
We talked. He'd been on another church service mission, this one with his parents to the Nauvoo Temple. He'd loved it, but didn't miss it much because he serves every Saturday morning in the Mount Timpanogos Temple as an ordinance worker. Maybe I should try to come when he's there, I said. Yes, said Reed. And say hi to your brother Stephen, who I used to play soccer with, he added.
I kept asking Reed questions about his life then, because I've missed the way he talks. He's got a nice, gentle way about him and he obviously loves his life so much.
A part of me thinks maybe even the temple is a little holier because Reed serves in it.
Another part of me thinks: it's so good God gave us temples, so that there's a place for Reed to serve so meaningfully.