A small piece of my heart broke yesterday.
I woke up December 17th, 2010 at 6:30 AM. I knew my car had to be scraped and started if I was not going to be driving an iceberg on wheels to work. 6:45, my friend Sarah sends me a text.
"Provo Tabernacle is burning down."
At first, I was trying to see how that statement worked, Sarah's statements sometimes being non-sequiter. Then my stomach begins to sink.
I ran upstairs and turned on KSL--nothing, just the weather. I go back downstairs and wake up mom, telling her I'm not sure, but I just got a text to telling me what happened. We both run upstairs, and now the news has changed to the traffic--focusing on the closing of the main streets around the Tabernacle. It then went to footage of the Tabernacle.
I started choking up.
I finished getting ready for work, and mom got dressed to head down to take pictures. Throughout the day at work, I discussed it with a lot of people, via text, IM and facebook. Mom shared with me the photos she took when she went down.
After work, I briefly drove downtown and could see all the firetrucks, and the pillar of smoke coming out from the ruins. Seeing the roof gone really...kinda started to make it sink in.
I had a concert, Carols and Confections w/ the Maple Mountain High school that night, so after driving through nightmarish construction traffic, I was there. Every time the rental organ played, my mind turned to the Tabernacle back home that was still burning.
On my way home, I battled the construction again, as well as snow. Mom and the kids met me downtown to look a where things stood. I held it together until I saw one of the pillars that held the balcony up standing free, silhoutted through the window. I walked around the building to the south side with mom, which was where I really lost it.
A light fixture in the doorway of the south side entrance. The heating vent right above it, between the stairs that used to lead to the clock tower. I heard part of the south-east tower stairs collapse. I could see through the melted and broken windows to where the organ should have been to the smoky sky. Flames could still be seen through the windows and busted doors.
Our whole community is heartbroken at the loss of not only a religious meeting place...but for the loss of a piece of HISTORY. This is one of the oldest buildings west of the Mississippi. Older than the SLC tabernacle.
I love that building. I have known that building for as long as I can remember. Growing up, our stake conferences were held there, and I have distinct memories of mom hissing at me and my younger siblings to get way from the balcony before we fell and DIED. I remember trying to slide down the banisters. I remember countless concerts over the years. I remember Screamapillar at the age of three singing, "I am a Child of God" with her little friends at stake conference. I remember the first time I heard the organ play during a dress rehearsal for our annual PHS Masterworks concert. I remember another Masterworks concert, performing a positively DISASTEROUS rendition of "Come Thou Fount."
I have so many memories of that wonderful, sacred building, and it breaks my heart to see it like this. And yet...there is still hope.
The miracle is not the fact that the image of Christ in the Second Coming is preserved. It is what it symbolizes. Christ is always there. He will ALWAYS be there for us, despite what fires of the world will try to destroy us. It cannot destroy Him.
Going back again to the ruins tonight, the fires finally extinguished, there is still a sacredness there, even among the ruins of that wonderful building that was dedicated to the Lord. I have felt it, and even in the face of this tragedy, I have found my faith strengthened. While the physical and monetary loss is great, the Spirit of God remains, and will never leave us.
Tomorrow night I will perform in another dedicated building, the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in SLC. I hope that I can share this testimony of faith and never ending spirit with those who come to see us perform.
While I will miss this building, and it hurts, I find comfort in God, and a true phrase I have written in my journal.
"And this, too, shall pass."
I like to think that with God's help, we can make it through and become better in all ways.
A picture of mom comforting a woman ended up picked up by the AP, and you can see it on the CBSNews website HERE.