A few days after our temple outing, we stuffed the children back into our van and headed north and then east up Parley’s Canyon toward Park City (of ski slope fame). Our excursion being in July, the hills were brown, not white, but I know from experience that much of the year the Wasatch Mountains resemble white chocolate chips pointing at the brilliant blue sky.
Continuing past Park City, we entered a picturesque valley with grassy pastures and rustic houses. Every mile seemed cooler and quieter than the last, a wondrous relief from the hot, bustling city.I was surprised how green this valley was in the middle of summer.
Our destination was near the town of Kamas where my brother-in-law’s aunt and uncle have a cabin, which they generously loaned to us for a five-day reunion. Built beside a birch forest about a mile from the Heber River, it’s a peaceful place.
The three bedroom home was just big enough to accommodate my husband’s parents, their four children and spouses, and eight grandchildren. Some people had to sleep in the loft, and those some people happened to be me, my husband and our four children.
I wasn’t satisfied with this sleeping arrangement, though, so on the third day I contracted mastitis, which earned me an upgrade. If you do not know what mastitis is, ask a nursing mother near you. My mother- and father-in-law graciously gave me their room and slept in the loft with our older children so I could have a more comfortable and private space to recoup.
The funny thing about mastitis is that in half an hour’s time one goes from feeling fine to feeling absolutely miserable. Unfortunately, it takes much longer than 30 minutes to return to fine. As a mother of four, though, I’m a mastitis veteran; I recognize it quickly and can usually solve the problem without antibiotics. Lots of nursing, pumping, hot compresses, water and rest are usually all that’s needed.
Before crawling into bed to sleep off my misery, I asked my husband and father-in-law for a priesthood blessing. They poured a few drops of consecrated oil onto my scalp, then laid their hands on my head and gave me a healing blessing. Priesthood blessings look and sound somewhat like a prayer but are based on a different concept. Prayer is a way for anybody and everybody to send messages to God, while priesthood blessings are a way God sends messages and blessings to us. They are given by a priesthood holder, someone who has authority from God to act in His name.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is similar to the Catholic Church in that we believe a man must hold the priesthood in order to officiate in God’s kingdom, to establish doctrine, to administer ordinances, etc. We differ from other churches, though, in that we have no professional, paid clergy. Instead, every man in our church who is keeping the basic commandments receives the priesthood—no special degree or status is required. The first purpose of the priesthood is to serve one’s own family. For example, I was baptized and confirmed not by the leader of our congregation, but by my father.
All my life, I have received blessings and ordinances from the important men in my life. Growing up, at the beginning of a school year, my father usually gave me a blessing to encourage, guide and protect me through the coming year. Also, when I was sick or in need of special help, I could ask him for a blessing. One blessing I remember well was one my father gave me when I was a teenager and worked as a bank teller. At the end of my shifts at the bank, I had to count all the money in my drawer to see if it matched the amount my computer said I should have. It sounds simple, but taking in and handing out cash all day without making a single error is harder than it seems. Shift after shift my cash drawer did not match my computer. My boss warned me that I needed to improve, and I tried harder, but I still kept coming out wrong more often than was allowed by the company’s standards.
Finally my boss put me on official probation. I went home from work mortified that I might lose my job because I couldn’t add and subtract correctly. I needed help, so I asked my father for a blessing. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I do remember that after that blessing, I never had any trouble with balancing. I went an entire month without any errors and even received an award for having the best cash-balancing record of all the tellers.
The blessing my husband and father-in-law gave me in the mountains helped too. The next morning I was better, and by the end of the day I was well enough to join in the fun again. We filled our days with volleyball, hiking, four-wheeling, water-skiing, hot-tubbing, watching movies and playing board games.