This post has actually been a work in progress – in my mind – for months now. However, I’ve never been able to find a way to write what I want to say. But, this week proved to be my opportunity. It has been an emotionally and mentally trying week – as well as a spiritually uplifting week. One that has evoked feelings of true gratitude for the very gift of life, for being a member of the LDS church, for my faith, for the presence of Heavenly Father in my life …
For the Priesthood.
I have often thought to myself that my life would be so very different if I didn’t have the gospel in it. I have never been able to understand how I could actually live without the church – which often leads to me asking myself the very simple question, ‘How do people live without the church?’ But, that’s not for me to answer. I know – and like – a lot of people that live without it. Many of these friends are devout in their own religion. And they are very happy.
My boss is one of these very people.
I currently work as the Sr. Executive Assistant for the GM of some company based here in Austin. His name is Matt – and his wife’s name is Katina. Two weeks ago, Matt & Kat were celebrating their 20th anniversary at a ritzy hotel in downtown Austin. They were woken up Sunday morning by their middle child, Jackie, who was attending a cheer camp at UT, asking them to come pick her up as she was not feeling well. It ended up that Jackie had caught the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) while at cheer camp – and brought it home. As the next few days passed by, and due to some very unfortunate circumstances, Kat caught the flu from her daughter. To say this flu is nasty is a complete understatement. Although it has been said that youth and children can typically rebound from this illness and regain their strength quickly, adults do not have this same luck. Kat continued to get worse and, unfortunately, by the end of the week this flu had turned into viral pneumonia.
This puts us at this past Monday (Aug 3rd).
Kat was admitted to a local hospital on Saturday (Aug 1st) and I first found out the Sunday following. While talking to Matt on Monday, it was obvious that he was worried and had been forced into a position he had never been in – and truly never wanted to be in. He had no answers of what was in store for Kat or how/when she would even recover. All he knew was that he couldn’t live without her. My immediate thoughts turned to the Priesthood – more specifically, the chance to give Kat a Priesthood blessing. If it were me in this situation, a Priesthood blessing would be a no-brainer. Matt & Kat, however, are not of our faith – and a Priesthood blessing is completely foreign to them. Understandable. But, as I was talking to Matt, I remember thinking that Priesthood blessings are available for all who need them – even if they are not of the LDS faith – and I felt prompted to explain a little about the Priesthood to him and offer for Aaron (and another Priesthood holder from church) to administer a blessing to Kat.
But I chickened out. I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say. I knew I would mess up the explanation and the offer.
I didn’t say a word.
When I got off the phone, I was overcome with the Spirit and felt the need to call Matt back and offer this to him. I asked Aaron to help me determine what I should say and how I should approach this topic with Matt. With a little prayer in my heart (and Aaron’s words typed out in front of me!), I called him back. And, whadayaknow, it wasn’t that scary. I briefly explained what the Priesthood is, more specifically what Priesthood blessings are, and offered for Aaron to give Kat a blessing. Matt was sincerely grateful for my offer, but respectfully declined. And I was fine with his response. My purpose in calling back was to offer it – not force it upon him.
Kat was transferred to a bigger hospital with more specialized doctors the day after I spoke to Matt the first time. The pneumonia quickly spread into Kat’s other lung and was joined by bacterial pneumonia. Kat fought as hard as she could all week to simply breath – something I now realize I take for granted. The body is truly an amazing machine. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t enough and did not give her body the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate – as it so desperately needed. Kat was sedated and put on life support this past Friday morning and will probably need to be put on dialysis before too long as her kidneys are already starting to fail.
Fast forward to yesterday.
It was yesterday that I got this call.
‘Shanan, I would like to take you up on that offer,’ Matt humbly asked.
‘Absolutely!’ I so eagerly responded. ’… No, it is not critical that you be there … I understand your want for her to have this sooner rather than later … No, no, you’re not putting us out … We will make it happen … Don’t you worry.’
We asked Aaron’s home-teaching companion to come with us to help administer the blessing. We were all humbled as we gathered in Kat’s ICU room around 5:30pm last night. Life is so fragile. It is not easy seeing somebody lie so helpless, dependent on modern technology to keep them breathing. However, she still had life. She still had a will to live. She had proved that. All of our eyes discovered at once the picture of Jesus Christ she had resting behind her bed. She may not be a member of my faith – but she has faith in the very same Jesus Christ that I have faith in.
Aaron and Jason gently laid their hands on Kat’s head.
There is so much power in the administering of a Priesthood blessing.
There was so much power in the administering of this Priesthood blessing.
“My word … shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same … If a servant of the Lord speaks as he is moved upon by the Holy Ghost, his words are ‘the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord ,… [and] the voice of the Lord.’” (D&C 1:38, 68:4)
My testimony of the power of the Priesthood was strengthened yesterday as I listened to the words the Lord had prepared for Kat. I am in awe at how giving the Lord is of miracles in my life – and in the lives of others – no matter what form they come in. I am humbled to know that I have this very power within my home – that my husband holds and honors the Priesthood. The Lord loves each of us – regardless of whether or not we have accepted His gospel here on this earth. He knows, so intimately, what we need. The Lord allows miracles to happen in our lives to teach and comfort us on our journey back to Him. I only hope that my faith continues to grow so that I can be worthy of the many miracles the Lord has promised – and will promise – me in my life. I have come to understand more fully that not only does the Lord ask for faith in receiving a blessing – but faith in trusting His promises will be granted.
I pray that Kat keeps her will to fight – keeps her will to live – keeps her faith.
For the Lord has great promises to fulfill in her life.