Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thoughts on President Eyring and an Abigail Update

A few Sundays ago I received several emails and a phone call regarding a regional conference in Utah, were President Henry B. Eyring spoke.  Sometime during his talk he referenced a recent experience where he had gone to Primary Children's to give a blessing to an infant with a serious heart condition. The timing of his talk led those who heard it to believe that he was referring to his blessing of Abigail.  His comments have inspired today's post.

I was not there, and so it is likely that some of what I say is in accurate, but I believe that I grasp the spirit of his point.  President Eyring was apparently speaking about purity, and of our need to become more pure.  He then referenced his experience with what was likely Abigail.  He said that he had two impressions as he left his office to minister to this baby.  The first was a sense of reverence for how pure this child was.  The second was that as he reflected on her purity he began to hope that he might be someday be like her.  It is that second statement by President Erying that I wish to discuss today.

Here's a man that most of us would consider pure.  Whether you believe, as I do,  that he is a prophet, it is impossible for one to listen to President Eyring speak and not consider him a pure and holy man.  Here is a man who has spent a lifetime trying to keep himself pure enough to be receptive to the spirit. And here is a man who has made and kept thousands and thousands of small commitments to do what is right--despite how inconvenient those commitments must have been at times.  This is a man that is pure and that, from our perspective, should just be able to "coast" into heaven.  What more must he do?

Yet, in the moment that he is called upon to give a blessing, his thoughts are not on his own righteousness and purity, but in contrast, he marvels at the purity of a newborn, and hopes (and surely prays) that me might someday be this pure.  That is spectacular.  President Eyring apparently doesn't believe he has "arrived."  And if he doesn't believe that he has "arrived" then none of us should be resting on our laurels either.

It is a natural law that no living thing ever stays the same--we're never in neutral.  We are either progressing or digressing.  Just as our muscles atrophy if we stop working them, our spirit does the same. Such is the nature of all eternal and living things.

Some of us might feel weighed down by the fact that we never "arrive" and that we have to keep pushing forward, trying to be more pure and more holy.  Some are burdened by that.  I don't believe that such a feeling comes from Heavenly Father.  I don't think that President Eyring is burdened by his need to continue to progress and to reach higher.  I suspect that he finds joy and peace in the process of trying to progress.  He finds that same joy and peace as he repents of whatever small sins he commits. "Enduring to the end" is such an ominous phrase, and it implies to some a certain kind of agony that those walking the path of righteousness must put up with.  I don't believe that is true.

Even though life will contain its fair share of agony, I believe that "enduring to the end" is can be a process mostly full of joy, light, and happiness.  After all, we are promised that "he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (DC 59:23, italics added).  Note that the reward for righteous strivings is not just a big fat prize at the end, but is the reward of peace right now.  I only hope that I will have the courage to continue to hope for purity like President Eyring so that I can always have the peace we've had since Abigail's birth.

Update on Abigail

Abigail is still as dainty as ever.  Most have commented when they see her for the first time that she is smaller than her pictures online suggest.  She is still tiny, and according to the scale at Primary Children's on Friday, she is still under her birth weight.  Check out her bird leg below:

Those who are familiar with our babies know that this bird leg is a typical sight.

Apparently, she has lost a little weight since leaving Lucile Packard, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, as she has been chugging milk like it's about to go extinct.  I was a little nervous as I was reading the blog of a fellow heart patient parent ( darling girl that is a twin).  Madison's mom said that one of the things that alerted them to the seriousness of Madison's heart condition was the fact that she wasn't gaining much weight.

However, Dr. Mack, the cardiologist we saw on Friday, wasn't terribly concerned about the weight because she isn't exhibiting all of the other signs that typically accompany a condition like Madison has--excess sweating, over exertion when eating, a heart beating extra fast.  Abigail has shown none of that.  Dr. Mack chalked up the lack of weight gain to the fact that every hospital has a different scale.  He said that the only scale we should use as a benchmark should be that of her pediatrician where she will visit most often.  I am chalking the weight loss up to (1) the scale and (2) all of the cords attached to Abigail at Lucile Packard (that the nurses claim are somehow excluded from the weighing process) that gave Abigail a wrong measurement.

Other than the lack of weight gain, Abigail's vitals seem to be functioning perfectly:  oxygen saturation is at 99 to 100%, her heart is pumping at a good, solid, consistent speed.  Her breathing is consistent with that of an infant.  She eats without laboring.  Amazingly, she takes to the bottle AND the breast equally well.  When bottle feeding, she consumes about 3 ounces of milk at a feeding (4 yesterday).  So far so good.

In the meantime, we continue to love and spoil this little miracle.  Below is a picture of Jeffrey holding his sister just after he woke up yesterday (12 year old boys usually don't wear shirts when they sleep!).  Is this not sweet?  There is nothing better than to see your children love their siblings.

Big brother getting a little "skin to skin" with baby sister.


Larry Reeves said...

Beautiful post, Jeff. I love the thoughts from President Eyring..don't we all have a long way to go!? Those bird legs look like my kids', too....must be a Reeves thing!

The Simmons Family said...

What a perfect picture of Abby with her big brother!!

Don't sweat the weight gain. Those 'bird legs' will fill out soon enough. SO glad she's eating like a champ!!!

Michelle said...

Jeff, have you ever thought of writing a book? Beautiful entry. I have either laughed, cried, or simply felt the spirit with evey post. Thank you.
In regards to your post on our site, I'm not sure who Dr. Mack is, but Dr. Gray is amazing! He was our doctor in the NICU and then a couple visits following (until he referred us to Dr. Everitt). You're in good hands! Good luck with everything. Again, congratulations! I'm elated that things turned out so well. Take Care.

Cara said...

Hey Lisa,
I am just wondering when you switched from the bottle to nursing? I would love any tips you have, being a first time mom and all. If you could send me an email when you get the time that would be much appreciated.

Aim said...

What a nice post. Jeffrey is such a good brother, what a sweet picture.

Summer said...

So glad to see Abigail is doing so well! I've always been given a hard time about Mason's weight and bird legs by cardiology as well! I would always say this is normal for my babies...2 of my other 4 were itty bitty like this too! Then some docs would blame it on the fact that he was nursing and not bottle feeding high calorie formula. I would try not to get offended, for I found it a miracle he would nurse!!!

He was doing just fine and normal for one of my babies (weight wise) until his heart failure continued to get worse through last spring and summer and he was losing weight and then began to refuse food! Thus we got him hig G-tube put in.

Anyways, Abigail is much healthier than Mason ever keeping nursing her! It is sooo good for Mom and Baby!

Thank you for sharing Dr. Eyrings story with us! What an amazing friend to have!!

Shelly said...

I'm still following your blessed story. I agree with a comment above, each post either makes me cry or laugh, and either way I ALWAYS feel the spirit. We have a heart story to share with you as well, I think the main reason I am so drawn to your story, besides the beauty and example of faith that it is, is that I am realizing what we almost had to go through 9 years ago. I will give you my e-mail address, and when you have time send me a brief note so I can share with you our stories (there are actually two) One of our stories now has an explanation as to the "why." Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for your beautiful story and your example of faith, strengh, patience etc. I don't know your family and may never know them, but I LOVE all of you as if you were part of my family. You are ALL SO AMAZING!!! Lots of love from our family to yours!
Shelly in Utah, acutally in Ephraim