But not me. I started running in high school, and have run off and on ever since. I want it to change me–starting with turning my pudgy peasant-girl legs into something appropriate to one of those lithe, willowy “runner’s bodies.” I want to triumph over pain and adversity, experience the joy of doing hard things, feel strong and brave and capable. I never do. Yes, running has probably prevented my thighs from taking over the known universe, it has probably made my heart stronger, and it has given me enough energy to (barely) keep up with my children. But I still loathe every single step, and don’t expect to ever experience the transcendence other people describe.
Here’s the thing–I feel the same way about going to the temple. I have never liked it. I’m glad that I have gone, I can believe and hope that it is a good thing to do, but if I’m honest with myself, I have to concede that the comfort, joy, peace, and inspiration that other people describe as characteristic of their temple worship have eluded me.* This is ok with me–I have a firm testimony of the gospel principle of slogging, the necessity of doing what is right simply because it is right. I know what I should do, and I will keep doing it. I’m just puzzled that the common experience of my fellow Saints remains so alien to me, that, just as running has not transformed me in expected or hoped-for ways, the power of temple worship has not (yet) changed me from a pagan-music-snob-who-feels-the-Spirit-in-the-woods-and-at-the-beach-and-in-Symphony-Hall, to someone who is moved by the temple liturgy.
What about you? Are there things that seem to make most Saints you know feel warm and fuzzy that leave you flat? Conversely, are there things that are moving to you that no one else gets? Should we worry about this, or just give thanks for the particolored variety of religious experience?
*Please refrain from telling me that I should prepare better, or put more into the experience, or repent, or whatever else it is you may think I have not done. You may be right, but you may very well be wrong, and you don’t know me well enough to have any idea whether your advice will be helpful or painful or insulting. I have tried a lot of things over the years–there’s a good chance your way didn’t work for me. And I’m not all that interesting, anyway; I’m hoping for a more generalized discussion.