I was 25 when I went to the temple to receive my endowment. It was my first year of teaching, my first year of love and heartbreak, and my first year of walking to greater light. When deciding to go through the temple, my bishop said to pay attention to how I felt. To not worry if I didn’t understand exactly why everything is done or what it means right now, but to pay attention what the Spirit witnesses to me.
I went through and I (to my current amazement) went for a session every week for a year. It was solace from a hard work life and soothed my broken heart. But I also sought signs. In the little pockets of my heart I wanted direct answers in a timely way. I wanted them to be sure and obvious and thought that’s what greater light was all about. As I went through sessions I didn’t get other references to signs or how they were connected to doctrine. I tried to remember my bishop’s words and enjoy the feeling of the Spirit, and from time to time did and still do receive soft waves of the Spirit that wash me with new knowledge.
One such wave came in Sunday School last week– we were discussing how to behave on the Sabbath and during the Sacrament. I had a feeling some hearts would sink and eyes would roll as people shared comments and implied perfection. The air got a little sticky for me. Tangled emotions didn’t quite reconcile with words being spoken, but then a woman spoke up and explained how we give what we can when we can and we can’t compare our mite to someone’s generous offering.
Our bishop jumped in and said, “a sign is our outward expression of the covenant and promise we make to our God.” He spoke slowly, almost melodically, emphasized the word our, and repeated the phrase again. “A sign is our outward expression of the covenant and promise we make to our God.”
He went on to explain that our personal signs are for us to decide and sometimes we can give generously and other times we only have a widow’s mite worth of will, faith, charity, but whether it’s the mite or a huge sum, the sacrifice is great if the intent is our own worship.
This was a new definition and understanding of a sign. To think of our own spiritual currency and expression of worship to be personally and uniquely offered felt expansive. I felt a greater spirit of love and acceptance in the room. As I thought about this idea, I also remembered the foundational truth of teaching correct principles, then letting one another govern themselves. I looked around the room and knew people came to church in different places and mind frames, and our job is to love and learn and be kind.
To think of a sign as our personal act and expression of devotion made whole and enough by His grace lifted our ward and my heart.