Previous Blog: Priesthood Blessings
By josh
8/21/2006 12:00:00 AM
(Copied from a previous blog on a different site)

Day 21:

Days 19 and 20 I was on vacation - I didn't log on to a computer once. Kind of a nice feeling, actually. I work on a computer all day in the I.T. field and doing several projects at home.

Tonight family home evening was on priesthood blessings. My children are getting ready to go back to school (three of the four) and so we discussed fathers blessings. At the end, I gave them each a blessing for school. It's always a little strange to me as priesthood blessings have never really been a big part of my life, as I mentioned in an earlier post. I was thinking about that, and I think I will write about it.

I have never really discussed this with anyone, but there are a few reasons I have awkward feelings about priesthood blessings. First, as I said, it's just never been a part of my life growing up without my father (who passed away when I was 2). My mom remarried when I was 11 or 12. I got along great with my step dad who was active in the church, but he wasn't much into priesthood blessings either; I don't ever remember seeing him give one anyway. My brother (my only biological brother) had a pretty wild childhood/adolescence. He was six years my elder, so while we got along ok, we didn't really interact all that much as he got into high school and moved on. He married and divorced twice, then married again. He had a child from each of his three marriages. He was never the most healthy person, and himself struggled with addictions - mostly tobacco. Although it was not discussed much, I believe he had a pornography addiction as well. He was a pretty open and honest person, and I know our mother knew of his addictions. He had problems with his heart and other problems , the extent of which I don't really know, but I know he was in pain a lot. He began to need pain medication more and more. Because of the escape the drugs brought - not only from physical pain, but I believe emotional as well, I believe he became addicted to pain killers. By this point in his life he had a wonderful wife, three wonderful kids, and a good job. His deteriotating health began to threaten his job, further adding stress to his life.

The point of all this is that I felt like I really wanted to help him. I lived 250 miles away, so there wasn't much I could do on a daily basis, but I determined that I would offer to give him a blessing - probably the only time in my life I have made such an offer. I was actually a little surprised when he accepted. I traveled to his home, and when I got there he was pretty out of it - the drugs he was taking were definitely taking their toll on him - he was not himself. He would fall asleep while eating with the fork halfway to his mouth. He wasn't with it, but had the sense to politely tell me he wasn't in the right frame of mind for a blessing. I was a little miffed at first, then I felt guilty for being angry and felt all the more sympathy for him. A short while later, he was in my area and stopped by to get the blessing. He wanted to offer a prayer before hand, and did. I have never heard a more sincere and heartfelt prayer in my life. He had been so humbled by his adversity. From reading his journal later, I learned that he had a powerful testimony of the atonement and a close relationship with his savior. I gave him a blessing, and blessed him to be healed, that his medication would do its job and restore him to full health. I blessed him that he had a great work to do among youth, and that if he paid his tithing he would be financially blessed. I blessed him with a number of other things, and it was a powerful experience for me. I felt so good to have helped my brother, and felt the spirit so strong. That night I wrote in my journal that I had no doubt the things I said would come to pass - I knew he would be healed, and that he would fulfill so many wonderful things that were in store for him.

A short time later he passed away after having an adverse reaction to some of the medication he was taking. They determined that he had not taken a typically lethal dose, but that his body just did not take it well. Looking back at how he was those months before he died, I see now that he was probably teetering on the edge for awhile. I was crushed. At first I didn't think much about the blessing, I was just dealing with the grief of losing him. Then I was overcome with sadness knowing of all the wonderful things that he was finally enjoying, and so much more was just around the corner, and all this after all so much suffering. Then I remembered the blessing. Why didn't my blessing heal him? Why did I tell him of all the things that were yet in store for him? Did I not have the necessary faith? Did he not? I then began to be overcome with guilt, knowing of my own sins and feeling that perhaps had I been more worthy, perhaps he would have been healed. I don't think I ever felt directly responsible for his death, but I felt that I should have been able to do so much more to help him. For a long time I just couldn't accept his death as what was supposed to happen. It was the wrong thing - something went terribly wrong, and he was just not meant to die at this point in his life. I promised myself that for my brother I would overcome my addiction to pornography. It helped, but I was still not able to keep that promise.

The time came for his work to be done in the temple. I really don't remember how long it had been since I had succumbed to temptation, but at the time I felt it had been long enough for me to do his work for him. I was expecting some miraculous outpouring of the spirit that day, as so many family members were there in the temple and this was such an important event. I just didn't feel it. I felt good about what I was doing, but perhaps I set my expectations too high. I began again to feel guilty, thinking that I was not worthy to have done his work, and I was the reason for the lack of the spirit.

(continued in next blog)


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***Anonymous User***     (login above to post UN-anonymously)

"Develop discipline of self so that, more and more, you do not have to decide and redecide what you will do when you are confronted with the same temptation time and time again. You need only to decide some things once. How great a blessing it is to be free of agonizing over and over again regarding a temptation. "

— Spencer W. Kimball