“President Monson Wants to See You,” Liahona, June 2011, 38
About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Four years later my health was steadily declining, and I was using a wheelchair. I felt extremely frustrated by my condition because for my entire life, I had been very active.
About that time I went to a conference in Dundee, Scotland, attended by President Thomas S. Monson, then a counselor in the First Presidency. Following the meeting, a member approached me.
“Come down to the front to see President Monson.”
I had no intention of doing that, but a few minutes later the man returned.
“Brother Sharkey,” he said, “President Monson is waiting to see you.”
“But he doesn’t know me,” I replied.
“Even so, he is waiting to see you. He has heard about your illness.”
I agreed and went to see President Monson. He greeted me warmly and asked whether I would like a priesthood blessing. I told him I would.
We found a room, and President Monson asked whom I would like to anoint me. I asked if we could send for my bishop. When someone left to find him, one of President Monson’s traveling companions reminded him that if they didn’t leave soon, they would not make it to the Edinburgh airport on time.
President Monson smiled and, referring to himself and to me, responded, “When you’re our age, you learn to prioritize. We’ll be there in time.”
When my bishop arrived, he and President Monson administered to me. The blessing President Monson gave me was not a blessing of healing; it was about managing my condition and its accompanying ailments. It was also a blessing for my family to be able to help me in managing my disease.
Now, a decade later, I still have Parkinson’s, but at age 74 I am doing well. I have indeed found ways to manage my illness. I feel good, and I have not used a wheelchair since the day I received the blessing. My doctor calls me his “star patient.”
I will always be grateful to President Monson for his kindness in speaking to and blessing a man he didn’t know. But I’ll also be grateful for what he taught me about using the priesthood.
We hold different keys and offices in the Church, but we hold the same priesthood. President Monson’s kind act taught me that the priesthood isn’t about who holds it but about how we use it to bless the lives of Heavenly Father’s children.