Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Spiritual Experience

Last Wednesday, I led a lesson on Mormon women and healing. In planning for it, for the first time in years, I really thought about my first experience with a healing blessing.

I was 16 years old. I had come down with some kidney infection that apparently was somewhat serious. My mom was really worried. Sometimes I could hear her cry at night, and I knew it was because of me.

I didn't give serious thought to asking for a priesthood healing blessing. I had never lived with a priesthood holder in the house (my bro certainly didn't count), and really, I didn't feel like it was all that important to get one.

One night, our home teacher came over with the bishop. I had quickly looked out the window when they knocked, so I knew it was them. I wasn't in a social mood, so I just stayed in the family room, figuring they'd be gone in 45 minutes tops. After two hours, I was getting annoyed. I had to go to the bathroom, and to do so I would have to pass the living room, where they were with my mom. Also, I was curious. What on earth were they doing with my mom for 2 hours?

I casually walked out. I think I remember my mom, sounding upset, saying to them, "But she hasn't asked for it." The men saw me and told me that they were here to give me a priesthood blessing. I was really shocked. Perhaps I shouldn't have been, but I was. I just shook my head and said I didn't need one. They pushed a bit, and I kept saying I didn't want one, I didn't need one. After a minute or two of this, I burst into tears and ran into my mother's arms. She hugged me and said, "I know baby, I'm sorry." I think she was crying too.

The men pretty quickly apologized, saying they had overstepped their bounds, and hightailed it out of there.

A few weeks later, since the idea had been planted, I think I must have asked for it. The hometeacher and my mom's boyfriend gave it to me. I did get better soon after that.

What's significant about this story now for me now is not that I was blessed and then got better. (Though perhaps that blessing really did have some sort of positive effect - if so, I'm grateful for it.)

What's significant and meaningful for me is that my quiet, non-confrontational mom for two hours fended off and protected me from two of the most powerful men in the ward because she so respected my space, my autonomy, my comfort level. What's significant to me is that she understood so well that unless I asked for it, I would be upset to have something so entirely foreign thrust upon me. What's significant to me is that she modeled for me and for those well-meaning men what it truly means to respect another's personal, spiritual space.

That is my spiritual experience.


Blogger Melessa said...

That IS a spiritual experience, may I remember to respect my children's spiritual space as well. (Actually, doing just that has been on my mind lately, so this post was very timely.)

7/27/2006 8:42 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Glad it resonated with you!

7/28/2006 12:16 PM  

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