Courage at Twilight: Looking for Books and Blessings

Dad has read all the various books his various children have given him in the last year, and he wished for more books to read.  I scoured my shelves and brought him an eclectic stack: political leadership; environmental activism; third-world memoir; history; biography.  I was not sure he would be interested in the selection, but he exclaimed, “I’m going to read them all!” as he started in on the first.  Reading: that is what he can do, and he does it well.  His enthusiasm faded as he labored in quaking pain to rise from his chair and stagger to the restroom, unable to straighten, hunched dangerously over his walker.  Mom and I helped him redress that day, for ne needed all his arm and leg strength merely not to collapse.  “Today was a hard day,” Dad lamented.  Mom looked uncharacteristically drawn and worried, and she suggested I call Brad and ask him to come help me with a religious enactment we call a Priesthood Blessing.  But I did not want to call Brad: the time was after 9:00; and, I did not want to have to summon the emotional energy to approach the Almighty God to seek a blessing from Him; and, I lacked confidence in my worthiness and strength to draw upon Divine power.  But after breathing deep for a few minutes, I called Brad, and he said “Yes!” and walked over.  Brad and I did as the Apostle James instructed two thousand years ago in answer to his own question, “Is any sick among you?” then “let him call for the elders of the church” to “pray over him,” “anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”  And it was our privilege, Brad and I, ordained Elders in our Church, to anoint Dad’s head with a drop of consecrated olive oil, to place our hands lightly on his head, to invoke the name and priesthood authority of Jesus, and to prayer over this father and neighbor of ours.  Brad proclaimed the infinite love the Father and the Son each have for Dad, that they know him and are mindful of him and his sufferings.  Brad reminded Dad of the love and admiration all his family have for him, and praised his goodness and sacrifice.  Brad pronounced a blessing upon him, both of deep peace and of a body sufficiently strong to control and perform its functions.  And we all said “Amen.”  I marveled at how in my Church we presume to access the priesthood power of God to pronounce blessings of healing, or comfort, or counsel, or release, how we often feel God’s unfathomable love for the afflicted person, and how these blessing experiences bring comfort and peace, hope and love, to all involved.  Lying in bed, I yielded to the ritual of checking my social media accounts for updates, and realized I was not seeking information but rather affirmation.  Upon waking every morning, I check Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Marco Polo, Gmail, and texts, hoping for a shot of external affirmation, and again at bedside at night, and again several times during the day, and I never find it, or I find some but want more, always more.  Lying in bed, I resolved to set aside the compulsion, knowing suddenly the truth that the only real affirmation comes from within oneself.  Lying in bed, resolving to be better and stronger, I thanked God for once in a while allowing me to be the weakest of His servants in blessing the lives of others, the lives of His children, in blessing Mom and Dad.  And I slipped into sleep.

3 thoughts on “Courage at Twilight: Looking for Books and Blessings

  1. Patricia Ann

    Good Morning, Roger After reading your blog this morning, I replied, “Psalm 46:10”.  I then turned to my Daily Devotional…and here it is. I just LOVE when that happens. Confirmation indeed! Blessings, Pat

    | The most popular verse in Psalm 46 is verse 10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

    In our world of frantic frenzy, scurrying, stress and busyness, the idea of “being still” really appeals to us. 

    We might not always do it very well, but we sure like it! It makes us think of sleeping in on the weekend or listening to our favorite band while relaxing at the beach. 

    But in the context of Psalm 46 something deeper is happening.

    It was originally written in Hebrew. “Be still” is in the plural, meaning that God is talking to more than one person. He might be talking to Israel’s enemies. But I think he’s speaking to his own people. Despite their fear and uncertainty, they can stop their worrying and fretting. He is God, after all. Nothing can change that. He will guard and guide them.

    With this in mind, being still is actually about inner stillness. It flows from a growing knowledge of who God is and what God does.

    Linguist Robert Alter says that the verb to “be still” (Hebrew: harpu) can also be translated as “let go.” It has to do with relaxing your grip on something.

    Oooh, that’s good.

    How many of us need to relax our grip on something and just trust that God is God? Perhaps we need to relax our grip on needing to be in control all the time, or thinking we need to have all the answers, or on being all things to all people.

    What do you need to let go of as you trust that God is doing a good job at doing his job?

    Feel free to take some time to think about it. And to exhale. 

    Inner stillness flows from a growing knowledge of who God is and what God is doing. |

    Liked by 1 person


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