I am in mourning.
A few days ago the Provo Tabernacle, the most beautiful building in Provo, one of the most beautiful buildings in Utah, was destroyed in a fire.
I read the articles about it online, and my heart hurt. I watched the video of the news footage with a moving soundtrack of a vocal solo that had just been performed in the Tabernacle, and I wept as if I were watching the memorial service of a dear friend.
Today, Mike and I drove past it as we entered Provo for a Christmas visit to my mom. It was no longer an image on a screen, but a burned out shell right in front of me. Again, I wept from loss.
I know. It is just a building. A pile of bricks, wood and glass.
Bricks that were formed into beautiful walls and 8 sided towers, framing stunning tall stained glass windows, surrounding paneled wood doors, housing a huge meeting hall full of carved pews and lined with strong pillars that supported the balcony which seemed to embrace the room. And, just as you enter, there was the large painting by Minerva Teichert (my favorite 20th century artist) which could be seen even when you were standing at the podium all the way at the other end of the hall.
A building where I attended meetings, and heard words that inspired me, causing me to do things that changed the course of my life.
A building where I went with my sisters, brother and parents to sing Handel's Messiah, and learned to appreciate the sacred music of this season as one of its finest gifts.
A building which the LDS church freely loaned to other churches when they were in need of a large hall for special services.
A building where, nine and a half years ago, we held the memorial service for my father. Because he loved beautiful structures that were carefully and lovingly built through great sacrifice by those who settled the valley. Because he loved places where people could come and hear beautiful music, and hear words encouraging us to turn to God. Because he loved places where people would choose to gather together and find peace and joy.
It can never be the same, and nothing can replace the experiences, but I do hope they rebuild it. Especially now. We need reasons and places such as this to gather.