Portraits of Mormon Women: Melanie
I have been a member of the Church all my life. My husband and I raised seven children and I am a contented grandmother of thirteen. I love doing many things: Family History, reading, keeping up with politics, gardening, attending and working in the temple, collecting dolls, and playing the violin.
The more I attend the temple, the more honored I feel to be able to be there. I am grateful to be a worker to help those who come as they participate in sacred ordinances and take time be in this place that for us, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the holiest place on earth.
This Easter, I was asked to play my violin for the temple workers in the early morning prayer meeting. I didn’t hesitate to accept, but had an extra challenge to be able to play well, because I have had fibromyalgia for about eight years, and the pain and shaking make playing very difficult. I worried, and took my problem to the Lord in prayer, asking him to help me perform in a manner He would approve of, and to help me overcome my fibro, just for this once.
The piece I chose to play was “The Holy City.” It is an inspiring, stirring, classic piece based on a verse in Revelation where John sees The New Jerusalem. I have always loved it. But because I would have to play at 6:30 am, it would be hard to get my hands dextrous enough to do it correctly. Some mornings I arose early to practice, but I was half asleep as I played, and it sounded terrible. I was really worried, but kept on practicing and praying, neglecting to make dinner and do housecleaning. I tried not to look at the things piling up around me. I just “sawed!” Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who picked up the slack in the kitchen and did the laundry for us.
The night before I was to perform, I hardly slept. I dozed for two hours, then got up and practiced to keep my fingers warm, the notes in tune and consistent, and my vibrato steady, then went back to bed and dozed again. I prayed as I played. At last it was 3 am and I rose for the final time, got ready and practiced while my husband got ready. I was frightened and shaking with nerves. I went on my knees to ask my Heavenly Father to be with me and help me to play in a manner worthy of his holy house.
We arrived at the temple a little before six, and I felt peace and quiet there, and was able to calm down. I changed into my white dress [we all wear white in the temple] and walked down to the chapel. My accompanist and I had time to go over it once, and I felt comfortable and prepared. I glanced at my sisters and brothers, dressed in pure white and smiling, and felt their love and support very strongly. The Lord’s Spirit was there. My husband sat beside me to silently cheer me on, and when the time came to get up and play, I felt Heavenly Father soothe my nervousness and help my playing project his love at this Easter time to my fellow temple workers.
When we finished and I sat down, my husband whispered, “Perfect!” After the meeting, I received compliments from just about everyone, and all throughout the morning they came up to express their love. Some said it brought tears to their eyes.
I knew that my Heavenly Father helped me to play in a “heavenly” manner in His house, and took away my physical problem for those few minutes. I felt His spirit there with me, and will never forget that rare privilege.