The Temple of Tolerance
My mom's family is from a tiny town in Ohio. I love to tell people this because, for whatever reason, many people seem to think that they'll know which town it is - as if they're a connoisseur of small Ohio towns. The conversation usually goes a little something like this:
"My mom's family is from a really small town in Ohio."
"Oh really? Which one? I'm from the midwest." (do all Midwesterners think they know all the tiny towns?)
In this tiny town, there are a few standout attractions that really define various parts of my childhood. We used to venture back for a good portion of every summer because my mom was a schoolteacher. In the warm months, we ate dole whips from Max's Dairy Barn most days, waded through the crick (no, I did not say creek), and got lost in the "forest" behind my aunt and uncle's home creating made-up worlds until the lightning bugs came out and signaled the start of a campfire where we'd roast weenies and marshmallows.
Tucked behind a modest home near the center of town is a place that hides the most incredible treasure in the town; The Temple of Tolerance.
When I was a kid, we mostly referred to it as the rock house. Actually, as an adult that's how I refer to it as well. The man who lives in the home has spent years creating this beautiful, tranquil rock garden on his property. It's a safe space for people who need one, a place of reflection for someone passing through, and a place of great history for those lucky enough to visit when the owner is around to show you all of the goods. Writing this I am feeling emotional (read: crying) thinking about the amount of work and love that went into creating it and feeling incredibly grateful that it's part of my story.
I don't want to get too deep into research of the temple because I've sort of ascribed my own meaning to it. If you care to read more about it - you can check out Atlas Obscura or this awesome article on the Spaces Archives. For me, the temple is more about the small things that you do that ultimately create a huge impact on the world. It took Jim almost 20 years to create the temple and it was made one stone at a time. People have gotten married there and funerals have been performed on site. Guests flock from all over the world to see it and it's a true testament to being intentional.
So, if you happen to find yourself meandering through Ohio, be sure to add the Temple of Tolerance to your list of stops. I would recommend visiting in a warmer part of the year so you can really see all it has to offer and take your time exploring the various vignettes that make up the whole piece. And if you stopped by Max's for an ice cream along the way, I wouldn't hate ya for it.