Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pardon Me, but You Need a Blessing

It kept niggling in the back of my mind during worship services. I couldn't escape the feeling that this man needed help. But what could I do?

Earlier that day I had run into the father of a family that I home taught. This industrious, normally placid fellow was frustrated. More than that, I sensed anguish in his soul as he grappled with matters beyond his control. Half a world away his missionary child was dealing with a newly diagnosed chronic disease. The love and concern this father felt was running up against the obstacles of time zones and bureaucracy.

During priesthood meeting it became very clear to me that this brother needed a priesthood blessing. The clarity, calm, love, and warmth that washed over me were unmistakable. Given the repeated counsel to act promptly on direction from the Holy Spirit, I knew that I needed to take care of the matter that day.

But thinking about approaching this man made me feel rather awkward. He held an influential leadership position. He had close associates with whom he served and worthy adult sons that could and would readily perform the ordinance. While I was his home teacher, I certainly didn't have the close relationship with him that these others had. Besides, he would be busy in meetings throughout the day as part of his calling. When could I even talk to him?

As I was tempted to rationalize away the responsibility I felt had been placed upon me, I realized that later in the day this brother and I would end up at the same meeting. I arrived early and saw him speaking with one of his close associates. I was pleased to note that his wife was also in attendance.

As the brother wrapped up his conversation I broke in and asked if he had received a priesthood blessing. It felt socially uncomfortable, but spiritually right in a powerful way. At first this man looked at me with obvious surprise. I explained that I had repeatedly felt since our conversation earlier in the day that he needed a priesthood blessing and that his wife ought to receive one as well. I said that one of his sons or close associates could take care of the matter or that I would be happy to do so as his home teacher.

The man became thoughtful and suggested that we go to his office immediately following the meeting. I invited the associate with whom he had been speaking to accompany us. I felt so good throughout the meeting. I knew I had done the right thing and that good would come of it. I received whisperings of the words I should speak.

After the meeting I and the man I had invited blessed this priesthood leader. It was a powerful spiritual and emotional experience. There were few dry eyes in the room. The other two of us then joined this man as he blessed his wife. He almost couldn't speak at first, choking with loving emotion. Then he spoke mighty words of spiritual comfort as tears rolled down his cheeks.

The whole experience lasted only a few minutes. Then we all went our separate ways, changed for the better. While I often fail to do what I should, this time I knew I had done the right thing. Church leaders have problems and need help from time to time too. Despite social awkwardness, it felt good to know that I had allowed myself to be an instrument in helping calm an anguished soul.

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