Friday, August 29, 2008

Sickness and Health

This past couple of weeks I've been pretty sick. First I had a horribly painful bacterial infection and then I got a really debilitating viral infection. I'm just started to regain complete functionality. Now, granted, this was a finite and blissfully short stint of illness. Still, it has made me enthusiastically grateful for my good health! However, that's not what I wanted to write about. I am also grateful for sickness. Not just because it provides a stark contrast for the rest of my life. I am grateful for the lessons it can teach and the beautiful experiences that can flow from it.

First, there is nothing that reminds me of my own mortality more than being sick. Nothing makes me more desperate to show and receive affection and service. And nothing inspires greater introspection. These past few days of limited physical labor have been an opportunity for spiritual labor. I'm not trying to melodramatic. I knew I wasn't going to die just then. But I did know in a way I hardly ever face that someday I will die. And no one knows when that time will come. We must use every precious breath given us to prepare to meet God. For when we die, we will be possessed of the same spirit that we give ourselves to in this life.

So there's nothing like being sick to get me up off my butt and working on the things that matter most to me. Every ounce of strength that is not directed towards getting well is spent on the things that really count. Although sick, it was vitally important to me that I show love to my son and my husband. And, while that was about all that I could do, now that I am better I feel revitalized to attack the projects I procrastinated about before. I know that if they are important to the Lord, He will provide a way for me to do them. It's my responsibility to get them done while I can.

In addition, that reminder of mortality and prick of fear that comes with sickness can, if we allow it, bring us to the Savior.

I also had the opportunity to receive two blessings during this period of time. I felt such an outpouring of my Heavenly Father's spirit at those times. Although I was experiencing frightening physical pain, I was basking in the peace and joy of my Savior's love. And the blessings were a confirmation of the revelations I had received for myself during that time. The Lord spoke to me through the laying on of hands but also through personal revelation by the Holy Ghost.

Out of the crucible of illness can come the resolve, peace, and knowledge necessary to finish our mortal probation with courage and kindness. It reminds me of something I think Jennie inferred once. When we are sick, we have an opportunity to be healed. And although that healing may not manifest itself in (only) physical ways, we can still reach through the veil to grasp hold of the greatest healing available to any person.

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