We have been remarkably blessed in not getting sick the last 6 months or so. Anyone familiar with us will know how unusual that is. Well, on turning in the first draft of a chapter for the book I'm writing with my adviser, I got sick, a nice little sinus infection. Luckily, we were able to get me some antibiotics fairly early on in the illness and I'm doing remarkably better than I was on Wednesday, when I could scarcely think for misery.
Now Joy and Hyrum have it too. We've been a bit worried if Hyrum might not be coming down with something this week because of how unsettled he has been, how uneasily he naps and eats, and how extra-fussy and grumpy he's been during the day. Well, it turns out he's got his father's "sick eye," that strange look I get where my eyelids swell just a little bit and close partially when I'm sick.
So we called out the home teachers tonight. One is sick himself with plague, so we called on our junior teacher, who was just recently ordained an elder. He and another brother came over, and we got to do something wondrous: we helped train a new Melchizedek priesthood holder in how to give a blessing.
---(side note for those unfamiliar with priesthood blessings: in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in the same gifts and powers that were given to the members of Jesus' ancient church. Jesus instructed His apostles in Mark 16:18 that those who believe would be able to "lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." The authority to lay hands was restored to the prophet Joseph Smith by Peter, James, and John, who appeared to him as heavenly messengers (see insert). That power has been passed down through the church and has been regularly exercised in my own life by my father and now by me for my family. The authority to give priesthood blessings comes from God, and is called the Melchizedek priesthood. The blessings of the priesthood are equally available to all people who believe in Jesus Christ, men and women [see Julie B. Beck's wonderful talk on this subject].)---
Now priesthood blessings were always a part of my family life growing up: Mom and I have been sick regularly and needed Dad to give blessings just as regularly. And so I've always been very thankful for priesthood power as my 105 degree fever would break within 15 minutes of the blessing, or strength and clarity of thought would finally clear my fogged mind, or whatever it was the blessing had promised.
But as much as Dad loves being there to give blessings to the family, one of the things that REALLY touched him was always training his sons in exercising our priesthood. He was thrilled to take us to the priesthood session of general conference. He loved teaching us our new responsibilities. And he particularly loved, just before sending us off on our missions, training us in how to give priesthood blessings ourselves, with Mom as our ever-ready ... guinea pig is the first word that comes to mind, but probably not the most appropriate ... supplicant? faithful person in need?
So here we were with a newly minted Melchizedek priesthood holder, getting ready to serve a mission in a few months. And I got to assist in training him. It was so cool! With three people to bless, we got to demonstrate for him how it was done before handing the job to him, which was quite useful. (He did a fine job, and we're looking forward to a speeded recovery.) As soon as they walked out the door, I turned to Joy and told her how thankful I was that we were all sick, so I could help train a new priesthood holder.
Joy just shakes her head. "But I love you," she murmurs patiently through her clogged up nose as she chops strawberries for our enjoyment tomorrow. "Who's thinking about tomorrow? I got angel food cake burning a hole in my pocket." And on that note, we'll wish everyone a good night. The kingdom rolls forth, and it's beautiful.