On a daily basis I lose things. I'm kind of scattered that way: keys, wallets, money, purses, sweaters, shoes and so on. Most of these things I eventually find though I may be late for wherever I was heading. Most "things" don't mean all that much--not in the long run. Somehow we find out what really matters when we lose something or someone that can't be replaced. Lately, I've been grieving some large losses. Things that matter.
The first may be too personal for a public blog, and I may regain at least some of this loss. I hope so. The second big loss was my mother-in-law who I blogged about and who we buried on March 31st. She was a one-of-a-kind and a great loss to our family, her friends, and community members. Then on top of those losses another great loss for all of Paradise/Avon and Cache Valley. Twenty years ago when we moved to Paradise, the center of the community stood out. A quaint Mormon church in a charming town.
On Easter I walked through this door for the last time ever to worship with friends. The bell in the fabulous bell tower pealed. Pealed not to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus so much as to say goodbye. Goodbye to not just the center, but the heart of the town. There's something about destroyed history. It can not be found. It can not be built again. Once gone, unlike my car keys, it's gone forever. Sometimes policies hurt. Policies should not just be made on economics and practicality. Beauty, space, tradition, and sacrifice matter. In a church that spends something like 2 billion on a mall, couldn't a little have been diverted to preserve our edifice? Shouldn't it have been?
I can't help but wonder if the demise of this building would be the same if it was in Salt Lake where the outcry could be heard and seen from church headquarters. If I sound bitter. You are right. I am bitter, but mostly sad. Paradise never was a wealthy town. In the early days, people with money built on center street in Logan. They didn't build out in the boonies. Paradise was a pioneer farming community. The church was the crown jewel.
The Northwest part of the church was built stone by stone, timber by timber in 1877. In those days church members paid for much of the building and did all the work. They built onto the building in the 1950's and this chapel was added then. Notice the lovely color of the chapel.
How many LDS churches built today are graced with hand-painted borders and lovely flowers--each one different? The man who painted these was in his 80's when he did it. He had worked on temple murals. These will not be preserved. They will be destroyed along with the building this week. After the meeting, we all gathered in front for photos--just like any funeral. And just like any funeral--we are left with what will never be the same again.