You’ve probably noticed I’ve not been around much of late. I was fighting off a case of the flu which seemed to be persisting a tad long. I figured it might be a secondary lung infection as I was also having fevers at night. I went to the local Instacare expecting to pick up an antibiotic prescription. Much to my shock, I had an infection but not in my lungs. It was in my heart.
At the emergency room they started doing tests. It turned out a benign mouth bacteria had somehow gotten into my blood and set up shop on my mitral valve. Apparently I had a slight genetic abnormality in the shape of my valve which allowed bacteria to grow there. On the scan of the heart there was a 2 cm growth attached to the valve. The heart valve had also been severely damaged by the bacteria. So I got to spend the next weeks in the hospital with a side of open heart surgery to replace my mitral valve.
All of this is the build up to the actual topic. Church. While I missed all the adventure of combining Elders Quorum with High Priests I did get to take the sacrament. As most of you know various people are called to come to each room in the hospital and administer the sacrament if desired. This is a simple service. Back in my home ward in my youth I’d even done it a few times. Yet as I lay there with more tubes coming out of me than anyone should have to deal with, I realized that was the essence of Church: the sacrament.
I don’t want to say that’s all that Church is. But it’s a big part. I remembered back in my single days doing a big hike with friends in Escalante. We missed a turn on the way back and a 20 mile hike became a bit more. What was supposed to be a fun jaunt and back home Saturday night ended up taking a bit more. We camped in our cars but I wanted to get back in time for sacrament. The next morning I drove everyone who wanted to come to me back to my ward. We arrived at 1:00 wearing dirt encrusted shorts and t-shirts. Sitting in the foyer we took the sacrament.
I’m not sure why, but I always remember that day. Taking the sacrament in the hospital room, it sunk home to me again how simple the gospel was.
1. If you’re curious here’s a video of the valve. The flappy thing on the end of left part of the valve is the biofilm that built up.