Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Parents, Personal Revelation, and Promptings

Two of my favorite bloggers, Momza and Cherie, reminded me of an experience with personal revelation that might be worth sharing here. While it's not one of my favorite stories to tell, it probably is one of my most valuable lessons learned.

It begins many years ago, with a field trip sponsored by my eldest son's junior high school in Southern California. As always, he was excited for the opportunity to escape class for a few hours, and he and his friends were in high spirits at the prospect. Unfortunately, their energy played out in a most unfortunate way on the bus ride to their destination. At one point, my son looked over the back of his seat to banter with one of his best friends, only to have that friend shoot him directly in the eye at close range with a rubber band. The boy thought this would be a funny prank...never considering the damage that might be caused. My son, on the other hand, realized he had a problem fairly quickly (due to the pain that ensued) but instead of going to an adult for help, he decided to protect his friend from getting in trouble by wearing a pair of borrowed sunglasses to cover his injured eye and hide the evidence.

My son went through the whole day in a lot of pain and with decreasing vision, but he told no one. By the time he got back to the school, he was pretty frantic. With a great sense of relief, he hopped on the bus to go home, praying the entire way that I would be at the bus stop to pick him up. (There were no cell phones in those days, and apparently he had faith that I would get the message.)

His faith was justified. I did get the message. Loud and clear. Several times.

Each time the prompting came, I felt more compelled to go pick that child up...And each time I gave myself a sterner talking-to, reminding myself of my tendency to be overprotective and repeating in my mind a recent resolution I had made to offer my children a little more space and a little less hypervigilance. My son was a big boy. He could find his way home from school without mommy's assistance. For some reason, it never occurred to me that my urge to pick Matt up was a prompting and not my own self-talk.

When I wasn't at the bus stop, my son panicked. By now, his eye was throbbing with excruciating pain, and all he could think of was getting home as fast as possible. He ran the entire way, jarring his injured eye with every pounding step on the hard pavement. When he got home, he showed me the eye immediately.

He had a hyphema like the one pictured above, except that the level of blood behind his eye had risen almost to the top of his pupil, which was damaged as well. It resembled a cat's eye (like the one below), because the pupil had been slit by the rubber band.

I tell you with no small amount of still-present maternal pain that his first words to me were, "Mom, how come you didn't pick me up at the bus stop? I prayed that you would be there!" I'm not sure I have ever felt greater regret than I did that day, especially after the doctor told me that running home was absolutely the worst thing he could have done because it had made the bleeding so much worse.

My son was in the hospital for a full week, with orders not to move his head from side to side or even lift it from the pillow. The doctor's prognosis was not good; he was hoping there might be some residual sight after the blood dissipated. Cosmetically, his eye was kept dilated for six weeks in hopes that the pupil would heal with some semblance of normal roundness. It seemed the aesthetic outlook for his eye was more promising than the functional one.

I apologized profusely to my son for not heeding the message the Lord had sent me, and it became a learning experience for all of us....me in particular. Since that time, I do not ignore strong impressions when they come my way. Not ever. In fact, I probably overcorrect a bit by erring on the safe side. When in doubt, I act.

That's my story about personal revelation as pertains to my children. My story about priesthood blessings is that Matt emerged from this experience with an eye that was completely healed in every way. There was no residual damage at all...just an increased disposition toward glaucoma that is carefully monitored. How grateful I am that my son did not have to suffer a lifetime of consequences for the mistake of a good friend who acted without thinking and a mother who acted without listening. Or failed to act, I should say.

"One of the most crucial parts of our communications with Heavenly Father is the ability to recognize the means by which He speaks to us through the promptings of the Spirit. If we have properly prepared, we will become sensitive to these promptings" (Neal A. Maxwell).

Mothers need to use all of the gifts available to them, especially the spiritual ones. (Grandmothers do, too. And fathers.) Happily, the Lord is eager to endow us with whatever little bits of truth and knowledge and intuition we require to raise our children. All we have to do is let Him. By listening AND acting.

The very happiest of birthdays to my sister, Nikki, a gifted mother who is very much in tune with spiritual things and has often used personal revelation to bless her children's lives. Have a great day, Nik. I love you!



Cherie said...

Wow Sue! That is quite a story and I am So glad that your son's eye is fine. I was on the edge of my seat reading that because I could just picture the entire thing having teens myself. Oh my!
I have to tell you that I have done the same thing. I tend to be a little overprotective in the mom department but I really feel like I have that right.
We had an experience this year with one of my sons. We let him do something that I didn't feel right about but I was pressured away from my promptings by words like "Your overreacting" or "You worry too much". But then the situation turned out badly and I vowed never to turn from those feelings again. I really should have known better and the person who said those things to me learned a lesson about my motherly promptings too!
Live and learn that is what this life is about but I am so SO grateful for Personal Revelation in my life.
Thanks for the blog love - You have quickly become one of my favorite bloggers - I love visiting here.
Have a GREAT day!


KC Mom said...

I'm grateful for the times when I've acted on the Spirit with my girls. I know there are plenty of times when I haven't done it though and I always regret it.
One of the ways the Spirit works through me is by telling me that I know something is wrong or my kids have done something wrong. I usually even know what it is. My problem is that they usually don't admit it for months at a time sometimes and so I'm left feeling crazy. But when I do find out...it is always a relief to me to know that I do feel the Spirit and I know what I know.

Frosty said...

Sue, what a powerful story! I loved the recent VT lesson on personal revelation. Then my son picked our FHE lesson to be on...you guessed it...Personal Revelation. Now this? No coincidence at all!

I whole-heartingly believe that through listening to personal revelations given to us our testimony is strengthened. Thank you so much for sharing!


Momza said...

Wow. What a very powerful experience, Sue. Oh my. I have had those same coulda, shoulda, woulda moments...and they stand as grand examples to me to not ignore my instincts or impressions when I have them.
Love your guts~!

Jess said...

I've learned the hard way, too, that promptings have a short shelf life and that I need to act immediately- even if it seems silly. I'm so glad your son's eye was ok.
I'm really amazed by the faith he expressed when he asked why you weren't there- because he prayed you'd be there and he expected it to happen. That kind of faith is amazing to me

Lisalulu said...

THANK YOU for the great reminder. LOVED the story, which really brings home the point. I needed that

karen said...

Good story, and I'm glad that there are others out there who also aren't exactly sure where the prompting is coming from. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who is confused. So I'm going to Denver in a few weeks. I don't know why, exactly, I just know I need to go. thanks for reminding me we don't always need to know the "why." All things in good time.

Catherine said...

What a great reminder! And a miraculous story. I love being reminded that if we live right, we can receive personal revelation when we need it. Thank you for sharing this!

jen said...

I have a very similar story with eyes with Ben. Maybe I'll have to post it.
I appreciate you sharing this. I think too often we ignore little things and then when the big things come, we are unaccustomed to listening.
What a blessing.
What a lesson.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing that amazing story. Thank you.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh my, what a story! Thank you so much for sharing and reminding all of us to heed promptings and feelings!
Two of my siblings are alive today because my mom headed the Spirit's promptings.
I hope I always will too.

Darlene said...

What a great blessing personal revelation is in our lives. It is much more than mother's intuition. I too, have experienced this many times in my long life and I truly have a testimony of it. I remember so vividly when Matt had this terrible problem. Oh how we all prayed. I am so thankful that it did turn out so well. It brings back, too, the powerful faith that our children have when they are small.

Nikki said...

Oh what an incredible experience. I cannot imagine how hard that was for you to think about! I am so glad he is fully healed. Personally revelation is such a wonderful and important thing.

Amber said...

Sue, this is beautiful. It really means a lot to me as my children are still young and really count on me to follow the promptings of the Spirit.

Joy For Your Journey said...

Oh my!! What a powerful story and what a great reminder. I am so glad your son's eye healed. I am wondering how many promptings I have ignored because I dismissed them as being my imagination. After reading your story I think I will pay much more careful attention now.

Amy said...

Honestly, this is one of my biggest fears. That I wont heed the promptings of the Spirit and something happens to my children. Biggest fear ever. And the fact that this is the third time I have seen this come up this week does nothing to quell those fears.

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