In a break from my usual posts, I would like to share a little story that occurred in our living room last Sunday. It had been quite an eventful day. Diana and I had driven home from a 10 day vacation in Escalante (what a wonderful place – Escalante, but that’s another story). We had a meeting in our home, which, much to my regret, turned out to be rather contentious. When things had calmed down and we had time to breathe, we were sitting around talking with our daughter Jules, her son Gunnar, her boyfriend, Matt, and our friend Kristine. During the conversation, it occurred to me that each of the ladies, for different reasons, could probably use a blessing, so I asked Matt if he would help us with a “blessing party”. This is something we’ve done before at our home, and they’re always very spiritually rewarding, but this one resulted in one of the most precious experiences of my life.
Diana and Kristine were first to receive their blessings and before each one I asked, “Which one of these worthy priesthood holders would you like to pronounce the blessing?” After the second blessing, Jules, our daughter, pointed out that Gunnar, 6 and with Down’s Syndrome, had repeated quietly every word of the blessing. As we were remarking about that, Gunnar got up off the couch and climbed up into the chair – obviously asking for a blessing. We all sort of looked at each other, melting to different degrees at how cute Gunnar was being, and then I said, “Well, Gunnar, which one of these worthy priesthood holders would you like to pronounce your blessing?” Gunnar held his hand out to Matt and said, “Matt”. Then as Matt was preparing to pronounce the blessing, Gunnar grabbed my hand and put it on top of his head.
Matt pronounced a beautiful blessing while Gunnar sat there fully reverent. When we were finished, he went over to the couch and reached out for his mother, who responded by sitting in the chair. Just in case we weren’t already overwhelmed by what was taking place during this unforgettable moment, Gunnar then proceeded to make sure we never forgot it. After his mother sat down, he reached up toward his mother’s head, pulling it down toward him, and put his hands on her head. Matt then proceeded to pronounce the blessing with Gunnar assisting.
Much is said about children, especially those who are mentally challenged, being closer to the Savior than those of us burdened by pride, fear and jealousy. I don’t know if that is true or not – I supposed it probably is – but this I do know. On this night, the Holy Spirit taught all of us through the precious actions of a child, and I pray that I will never forget his humble innocence in recognizing the gospel in action and the lessons of child-like faith that he taught each of us. We were truly the ones blessed.