"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
November 25, 2013
Thanksgiving at a Deeper Level
by Kathryn H. Kidd

This month our regular eat-and-share-a-lesson group focused on Italian food, and after that we spent a few minutes talking about gratitude. Doug and Marcia, the hosts of this month's activity, organized things in a different way by having the discussion go around the room. (That wasn't the different part.)

They went first, and Marcia said she was grateful for home and family. Then she and Doug said that as we went around the circle, there were not going to be any reruns. "Home and family" was taken, so anyone who was thinking about talking about that that now had to come up with something else.

Bummer.

The first few people had it easy, because they picked the rest of the obvious answers. One was thankful for her spouse. One was grateful for good health. One was thankful to live in a free country. Also, because this was a church-sponsored group, some mentioned gratitude for spiritual blessings such as the love of God or the atonement of Jesus Christ.

But as we went around the circle, it became more difficult not to duplicate an answer, and we had to really dig deep and put some thought into those blessings that we might not recognize on a regular basis.

One person mentioned the beauty of the Earth, the great variety of plants and animals, and the changes that occurred during the various seasons. One person mentioned the invention of the printing press, and how that made books available to all, and not to just the rich.

When it was my turn, the thing I was thankful for was priesthood blessings. Priesthood blessings are unique to our church, and when I found out about them, I was so anxious to get one that I just couldn't stand it. After all, if you learned for the first time that you could find out exactly what God wanted to tell you about your own specific life, wouldn't you jump at the chance?

I received my first priesthood blessing — my patriarchal blessing, the one that provides my life's guidance — two days after I was baptized a member of the Church. Like most Mormons, I have mine just about memorized because I have read it so many times.

I have received about a dozen more priesthood blessings over the years. They are scripture to me, and I have them memorized, too. "Lifers" in the LDS Church tend to take them for granted. I don't. I realize what a rarity they are. Bill Gates, with all his millions of dollars, could not purchase what we get for free.

My sister Susie was visiting last December when I got sick and was hospitalized. When she went to see me in the hospital, one of the nurses told her that she needed to say goodbye to me, because this was the last time she would see me alive.

I don't remember that visit because I was already comatose. That was how sick I was. Nobody looking at me would have expected me to come out of that. As far as the world was concerned, I was toes up and headed toward the morgue.

Later that evening, Fluffy and a friend were allowed into the hospital room to give me a priesthood blessing. I did not hear the words of the blessing, but I was promised that my health would be restored and my life would be extended, because God still had things for me that I needed to do.

During the past year I have seen the fulfillment of that blessing. My recovery has not always been easy, but we have seen slow and steady progress. A cynic may look at me and say I obviously haven't been cured because I can't walk, but I had far more serious medical problems before I went into the hospital. Those problems have been cured, and I've been told that eventually I'll get my legs back too.

I have also been blessed in other ways, such as being more patient and empathetic with others. Spending three months in a hospital tends to make you focus things that are a little more important, and I'm glad to have learned that lesson. This has been a great year of joy and learning for Fluffy and for me, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I debated about whether to even share as much as I have of this story, because it is so sacred to me. But during this time of year when we reflect upon our blessings, the power of priesthood blessings is among the things for which I am the most grateful. (Fluffy is right up there too, of course.)

As you gather with other loved ones to celebrate the holidays, you may want to try counting your blessings and thanking God for all of them — not just the obvious ones. With a little contemplation, you should be able to count hundreds of them, and not just the few that immediately come to mind.

Even light switches and flush toilets are miracles beyond most people's comprehension, so have a field day when you do your thanking this year.


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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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