Sunday, April 07, 2013

It feels good to be loved.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our family spent the weekend watching the church's semi-annual General Conference.   I felt very uplifted, listening to the messages spoken by the apostles of our church.  They brought messages of hope and peace, and that is exactly what I needed to hear.

Probably most of you who read this blog already know that about a month ago I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer.  Assuming the cancer hasn't metastasized, which the doctors don't think it has, it ends up being more of an annoyance than anything else.  Unlike most cancers, it is generally cured with a single surgery, and then possibly a follow up of radioactive iodine.

About a week after I was diagnosed, I was given a priesthood blessing by Elliott and our home teacher.  In our church, we believe men who live righteously and make specific covenants with God can be ordained to hold the priesthood, no special divinity school required.  It is one of the things I love about the church, that Elliott has the ability to call the powers of Heaven to heal me, if that is how he feels the Spirit directing him. And he did bless me that I would be cured.  This has given me great peace the last few weeks.

I have also felt a great outpouring of love from friends and family who have shown their support to me by fasting and praying for me.  I never really understood how people could say that they felt the prayers others had offered on their behalf, but now I can.  I really have felt this immense power within me, because of the prayers of others.  To all of you who have prayed for me and for our family, I thank you.  Especially to my sister for organizing an additional fast for me today. I have felt so loved as I have thought of all the prayers ascending to Heaven on my behalf.

Elliott has always said how much I hate to have others go out of their way to help me.  And really, I suppose that is true.  I know that anyone who is helping me is sacrificing their own time and energy, which amongst my friends and family is pretty scarce as it is.  I remember that when I was pregnant with Sophie, I had a visit teaching companion who was constantly bringing us the most wonderful biscuits (one of the only things I could eat without getting sick), and soups, and assorted other foods. I felt so bad that she was bringing us food all the time, because I felt like there was no way I could repay her kindness.  In fact, I started complaining to Elliott because I didn't want her to bring food anymore.  (Gah...  so jerky of me!!)  The other day I was pondering on this, and pondering on the fact that I have had offers from dear friends to help me while I have been dealing with doctor appointments and blood draws, and all the other fun things that happen when one has cancer.  It occurred to me all of a sudden that my visit teaching companion was, in a way, an example of how our lives are with Christ.  There is no way that we can ever repay him for his gift to us of the atonement.  That he redeems us from our sins, and that he heals us in our afflictions, through his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. I will never be able to repay that debt.  And furthermore, he doesn't expect me to repay it.  He asks me to follow Him by serving others, by being kind, by keeping the commandments, but no matter what I will never be perfect, and he doesn't expect me to.  He gave me the gift of the atonement as a gift, knowing that I cannot repay him.

A long way of saying that now, when my friends offer help, I take them up on it as needed.  And when three of my good friends stopped by today with meals, books, washi tape (fun!), and hugs, I welcomed them with open arms, knowing that they did not expect repayment.  That they were just saying, in essence, "we love you."

Thyroid cancer is an annoyance, but I can already say I am grateful for it.  I have been able to feel God's love through my friends and family.  It has strengthened my understanding of the atonement, and my love for Christ.

Tomorrow morning bright and early, Elliott and I will drive to Boston for surgery.  My mom is here, helping run the household while I am in the hospital, and while I am recovering (moms are the best, aren't they?)  I am blessed to have one of the top surgeons in the nation operating on me, but even more I am blessed because of all of you and your love for me.  Thank you.