Liahona
Is This Where I Want to Be?
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Is This Where I Want to Be?

When I was 17, some family members and I had to drive from Oakland, California to Portland, Oregon to find and rescue a stolen vehicle—and a lost baby niece. The trip was scary and stressful, but we were hopeful and prayerful.

Through several tender mercies from a loving Heavenly Father, we were able to rescue both the minivan and my baby niece, who, by a miracle, was safe and sound.

The minivan was in working condition, but it was a mess. I was more than excited to clean it out, to prepare it for our drive back. Thoughts of those who had abused our vehicle—and the kind of chaotic life they must lead—brought me to frustrated tears. It was hard for me to understand how anyone can do such crazy things with their lives and with other people’s property. It made me so sad.

I couldn’t wait to get back to California. I knew we had a long drive ahead of us.

By the time we were ready for that drive, it was late—and dark. As we got back on the road, my mind filled with thoughts of our trip so far. I thought of all the ways Heavenly Father had helped us. I thought of all our pleadings with Him on the way to Portland and all our expressions of gratitude for our journey back.

While I reflected on these things, I saw a bright light, standing tall above the darkness of the trees, a little distance from the freeway I was on. My heart began to swell in excitement as I thought about what this light might be. After a few minutes, as we drew in a little closer, I could see that there was no way it could be anything else but the Portland Oregon Temple!

I was so excited that I told my family we were getting off the freeway to find that temple. I had to see it! My spirit yearned to be on those temple grounds, to take in its beauty and to share that experience with my family.

As I made my way through the trees, I could see the light as though it was at the end of a long tunnel of darkness. My heart leapt with joy and anticipation.

Pulling closer to the temple, we noticed a cul-de-sac just before the temple gates, where a circle of cars parked. Excitedly, I looked around for a way to drive onto the temple grounds.

All of a sudden, I felt my heart break when I realized the temple gates were not just closed, they were locked.

I quickly found a place to park among the other cars, and in the next minute, I was standing at the iron gates—holding on to them and crying—as I gazed in at the beauty of that majestic and holy house.

The idea of being locked out of the gates of heaven became a very real thing to me in that moment.

Questions flooded my mind as I stood there that night:

  • Is this where I want to be when I get to heaven?

  • Do I want to be locked out? Crying because I can’t get in?

  • Will someone see me crying and feel bad enough to let me in?

  • What will I do to make sure this will not happen to me at the gate of heaven?

I cried up until we had to get back on the road, and then I cried some more.

The impact of that night was so intense. As I continued driving, I reflected over and over on the flood of emotions I was feeling that night. It strengthened my desire to do better—to be better—to give my heart to Him and work hard to follow the example of my Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I started to sing as I drove. As I sang, my heart began to fill with peace and comfort. I knew that my experience would give me a new song, a song I completed during that drive. A song that will lift and inspire. A song about a temple. My temple song.

This is that song:

I went to see the temple.

It was marvellous to see,

a masterpiece that is sacred and divine.

In my heart, I heard a whisper

that spoke so very softly,

saying, “Look inside and see what you will find.”

Is this where I want to be?

On the outside looking in?

This feeling isn’t right for me.

I want to be within the walls,

a part of what I see.

As I stood at the gate that night

looking in on what was more

than marble stone, surrounded by His love

A question came into my mind

I’d never thought of it before,

What if this was the kingdom up above?

I want to be a part of

that everlasting joy

that’s promised in the kingdom of our Father.

But if I’m not prepared right now

to receive the blessing stored,

I’ll never find that peace from any other.