A Healing Balm
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“A Healing Balm,” Tambuli, June 1992, 24

Temple Issue

A Healing Balm

My sister and I were no doubt the envy of many during the great economic depression in the United States during the 1930s. We grew up in a comfortable home. Our father had a job and provided well for the family. Our mother put meals on the table, shopped with us for clothes, and routinely visited her aged mother. I did not know what the Depression was until I studied it in school as a teenager.

Nevertheless, my sister and I felt deprived—emotionally deprived—by our mother. As adults, we have endlessly discussed the lack of warmth, approval, constructive criticism, moral training, and hospitality in our home. Why had Mother seemed so uncaring, critical, and self-centered?

After I joined the Church, I “adopted” someone else’s tender, loving mother as my own. However, it still didn’t salve the hurt. Even Mother’s death provided no healing. It meant only that the yearning for her love and approval could not be fulfilled in mortality.

One day, I drove alone to the temple to be baptized for Mother. As I drove, I prayed for her. Hot tears stung my eyes, and choking sobs welled up inside me.

The sorrow and hurt I was feeling continued all the way to the temple and even into the baptismal font. But when I rose up out of the water, a healing balm enveloped me. It washed away all my bitterness and longing.

I saw Mother, stalwart and whole. The Holy Ghost filled me with the awareness that my mother had been handicapped in mortal life. She had had an emotional handicap, the source of which remains a secret to me. But she is handicapped no longer. And neither am I.

How thankful I am for the Savior and for his love, which extends to me and to my now-whole mother, who is learning the lessons she could not learn in mortal life. I am eager to meet her and to share the love with her that we both were deprived of on earth.

Illustrated by Paul Mann