In my culture there are three basic “healing types” to take advantage of: medicine, prayers, and blessings.
My life was preserved before I turned age 4 with this combination of healing types. When surgery for a ruptured appendix failed to heal and I wasn’t expected to live, many people in our small Idaho town rallied around to pray for me. Church leaders came to the hospital to give me a blessing.
While in the hospital, I rallied with some remarkable energy, enough to have vivid memories of people around me, caring for me. I remember my grandmother dozing in a chair at the end of my bed as I woke up. One time the nurse came into my room and I “shot” her with a little cap gun pistol, a present that a sick boy would like. She leaned back against the wall with a pretended wound as we laughed together.
I went home from the hospital on a January morning in a light snowstorm. I can still see in my mind’s eye the windshield wipers on my aunt’s car going back and forth as I sat covered with a blanket on my mom’s lap.
That spring as I continued to gain strength, I would go around to stores in town with my mom, and she seemed proud to introduce me as the “little angel” or “miracle boy.” I recall one time peeking from behind my mom’s skirt as she talked with a woman at the 5 and 10 cent store about my miracle recovery.
My emergency sickness had brought together these three healing types back then. And they’re coming together again tonight.
With family surrounding me in the living room, I told the brief story of being healed back then as a 4-year old and connected the dots to my needs now as a 67-year old. Medicine, prayers, and blessings will still be my healing methods.
I’m trusting the medical care I’m getting to be the right kind, at the right time, at this early stage.
Just five days ago, as many people heard the news about my cancer, they started praying and fasting for me. And some have already placed my name in the prayer circles of temples. Special needs bring out the special, tender mercies in others.
And tonight my family gathered as two of our sons, David and Ryan, gave me a blessing for healing as our third son, Alan, listened in on the phone from Texas.
I can’t predict what the outcome of this current adventure will be, but I’m thankful for the combination of science and technology, the good will and hopes of others in our social sphere, and the specific plea offered by my sons to God as a blessing for me.
One of the church leaders who gave me a blessing when I was a child, later gave me a patriarchal blessing as an older teenager, saying that my life was preserved for a purpose.
This Sunday night I’m pondering that mission and purpose with great respect for life, for choices, for loved ones around me, for being able to try again, and for the opportunity to tell my stories, while I have time.