Late this afternoon, Claire and I hopped in the car and took a little road trip up to L.A. so that she could spend the weekend with her girlfriends from church. We stopped at the local gas station and loaded up on snacks before we hopped on the freeway for our 2 hour ride. It was a little longer than that today -- we sat in traffic half the way there, which I expected, considering it was a Friday night.
As we drove, I attempted to sing along to the radio, but my plans were thwarted by the co-pilot who continuously changed the channel in search of rap music -- not my favorite. You can't sing along to rap. At least I can't. I sound stupid.
We got to Los Angeles crawling at a snails pace, and pulled into the parking lot of the Latter-day Saint Temple on Santa Monica Blvd. where Claire's friends were doing temple work -- the primary reason for the weekend trip. Mormon youth over 12 years old can go to the temple on certain occasions to perform proxy baptisms for people who have died and were not able to perform this work themselves. It's a beautiful experience -- I always look forward to accompanying the youth when they do baptisms for the dead.
We found Claire's friends standing on a corner of the temple grounds with wet hair and smiling faces. I have a special fondness for this group of girls. For the past two years, I have been their youth leader. But the guard changed hands a few months ago, and I no longer work with them in this capacity. I miss these lovely young women. I learned so much from each of them. We've had some wonderful experiences together. We've laughed, we've cried, and they have kept me young with their crazy antics.
Before I left for the long drive home, we spent some time on the temple grounds taking pictures under my favorite tree. When lit, it looks like a giant mushroom. But this year, it looks like a crown.
I love the lights of Christmas, and the light that shines within each of these girls.