Mercedes is the voice behind Vi-Va-Ce, a blog dedicated to helping others “Play the music you were given in the way it was meant to be played.” She has shared her personal stories of coming to terms with alcoholism and celebrating one year of sobriety, and now shares what going to the temple for the first time meant to her.
I rarely make references to my religion in my writing, because I choose to speak universally. I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and recently I was able to go through the temple for the first time. There are a lot of things about ‘mormons’ that are weird and difficult to understand when viewed from a certain perspective. My beliefs are very near and dear to my heart, yet I never want to make anyone feel less for believing differently than I choose to so I pray that as you read this, you can feel my sincerity and find commonality amongst us.
When I was a young girl, I learned a song that I still hum/sing often-
“I love to see the temple
I’m going there someday,
to feel the Holy Spirit,
to listen, and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
a place of love and beauty.”
One year ago this May it was as if I had been woken from a deep, forgetful sleep. At times it feels as if everything in my life has changed since then. I recently celebrated one year of sobriety, which was empowering and liberating. But by far the best gift of the challenges and trials from this past year happened Saturday as I worthily entered the House of the Lord to strengthen my relationship with God.
I could write so much about what that experience was like. The honor I felt making covenants with my Heavenly Father. The fact that I have never had a more personal opportunity to feel special. How beautiful the rooms were and being able to share that space with members of my family and many other loved ones. The deep convictions I have of my purpose and the meaning of everything we do in life. The part that I really care to share is WHY I chose to become more accountable to God.
We all have our own unique path that brings us to our truth and light. Some start off in the right direction and never deviate. Others weave in and out. There are even a few who choose to go the opposite direction. For me, there was a short period of weaving and then a sharp turn onto the “wrong road.” I will always be grateful I took that path first because it led me to the right road and now there is no way I can or will change course.
For years I felt like an odd duck at church and eventually it brought me to a point where I felt like I couldn’t see myself every finding a way to be the person I wanted to be AND live righteously as a member of the LDS faith. I remember explaining to a friend that “I feel like I’ve been trying to make my puzzle piece fit for so long, but I’ve come to accept that I was put into the wrong puzzle. My piece doesn’t belong, and so I must find the puzzle I am supposed to be a part of.”
The truth that I was too stubborn and prideful to accept at the time was that God could show me EXACTLY how my piece fit in to the puzzle. When I finally asked years after that conversation I just referred to, I was blown away at the intensity of the answers I received.
Here are the four sides to my puzzle piece that have been shaped through my experiences and my willingness to let God direct me in my thoughts and actions.
1. Heavenly Father loves us ALWAYS and FOREVER. There is nothing we can do to take that love away. It is UN-CON-DITIONAL! He is far less concerned with anything we have done and profoundly more interested in what we are doing this very moment. He doesn’t care where we are on the path, just the direction we are headed. He is not an angry God who turns us away when we make mistakes. He is filled with the most love for every one of His creations.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.