"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
May 24, 2012
Looking at the Wrong Hand
by Hannah Bird

When I was a little girl, my mother would tickle me. She would extend one lovely finger and say, "Do you see this finger?" I would collapse into giggle immediately as she wiggled her finger and asked again, "Do you see this finger?" Then she would pounce and tickle me until I was breathless, but it always caught me by surprise.

I watched the finger she showed me, but I was always looking at the wrong hand. As I grew older I knew that the attack would come from the unthreatening hand. But the dancing finger and my mother's charming smile still drew all my attention away from the attack.

At a family party, my father-in-law and husband performed a magic trick. Dad would lay out nine cards, my husband would leave the room, someone would pick any card, and then my husband would come back into the room.

After being offered several cards, he would pick the correct card. I could not figure out how they were doing this. My father-in-law would touch different places on the card and I was sure that was the secret code. So I volunteered to try. I picked the wrong card. The secret code was not in the hand that was pointing to the cards but in the hand that seemed to be resting innocuously in his lap.

Once again I was looking at the wrong hand. But I have found I am not the only one who does this.

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with a severe respiratory disease. It causes me significant pain and discomfort. It cannot be cured, but daily management is wildly expensive. Frequently, my activities are limited by my illness. I get sick very easily.

Family, friends and ward members are aware of this and I am blessed and grateful for their concern. But invariably, I end up having the same conversations. People remind me to get blessings. I have. I am reminded that God can heal me. I believe that to be true. People offer to pray for me and I welcome it. People hope and pray for a miraculous healing. But still, I am breathless. Still I ache. There is no healing. There is no miracle. I remain seemingly unblessed.

Because they are all looking at the wrong hand.

I believe that the Lord could repair my lungs. He could knit anew the missing tissue. He could give me breath. But that is not the gift He has chosen for me even though it remains the gift others would choose for me.

The gift He has chosen is a far greater miracle than a sudden healing. He has offered me the gift of strength to endure. He has offered me peace. He has offered to walk the breathless miles with me. I haven't enough patience to wait through a commercial, a stoplight, or a grocery line of more than two people. But He gives me patience to wait through pain. When I am anxious at the prospect of bills and lost dreams, He gives me peace. When I have come to the end of my ability to bear it, he answers my most urgent prayer; "Lord, help me bear this for the next five minutes."

In Third Nephi we are reminded:

Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (3rd Nephi 14 9-11)

It is a reminder that the Lord gives good gifts. It is a reminder that if I ask in faith, what I receive is good and sufficient for my needs. It is a reminder to watch the other hand. It is a reminder to reach both of my hands out to accept the gifts. It is a reminder to allow myself to feel the peace and love that He sends.

I never know quite how to answer when people plead for me to be healed. I appreciate their love and concern. But though I am not healed in the way they expect, I am healed each day. This is not a stone.

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About Hannah Bird

I am me. I live at my house with my husband and kids. Mostly because I have found that people get really touchy if you try to live at their house. Even after you explain that their towels are fluffier and none of the cheddar in their fridge is green.

I teach Relief Society and most of the sisters in the ward are still nice enough to come.

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