As I mentioned when I posted those pictures of me in the hospital (here), last Friday I went in for septoplasty. I’d broken my nose when I was about 10 years old, and now, 25 years later, I finally went in to get my deviated septum fixed.
In spite of my smiling pictures, the experience was less than enjoyable. It’s funny how much we take breathing for granted. Then, to keep your septum straight (after they re-break it), they shove these over-large, two-inch-long plastic doohickeys up your nose and then send you home to “rest”.
At long last, almost 6 days later, I went in yesterday to have these doohickeys removed (doohickey is the medical term for these nasal devices).
Like a good boy, I sat in the chair while the doctor plunged forward with his little doctor-tweezers, suggesting that I “hold still”. I cannot describe what came next, and I was confused for a fraction of a second that a human could be so cruel, and then I took a breath.
My brain was flooded with more oxygen than I ever remember acquiring. It was miraculous. The doctor (having fun now, of course) began laughing at my stunned silence and shocked expression. I let him laugh, I was too busy breathing. After 25 years of obstructed airflow, I suddenly felt what it was like to take a full breath of air. It was almost intoxicating. It’s something you cannot describe.
After leaving the office, I went to the parking lot and sat in my car. For 30 minutes. Just breathing.
And then I was angry at myself for having not done it earlier, realizing I had deprived myself for so many long years of this amount of oxygen.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, I suddenly realized how much this is like the restored gospel of Christ. Without the fullness of the restored gospel, we’re receiving only partial access to truth, eternal principles, divine guidance, and the blessings associated with each of these. We go on, assuming this is simply what it’s like, this is all there is, and doing our best to manage with what we’ve got.
But then, when we experience the fullness of the restored gospel, embracing the truths that lie within it, those obstructions are removed, and we witness the full force of the beautiful, rich, and empowering gospel of Christ. It hits you hard, wakes you up, and suddenly, having the fullness about you, you realize the limitations of what you had before, and perhaps even regret that it took so long.
Those who grow up in the gospel, often take for granted the amount of life-giving “oxygen” they’ve been blessed with.
But whether you come to embrace the fully restored gospel sooner, or later, it only matters that you do it sometime. It’s just that the sooner you do, the longer you’ll have to enjoy such unobstructed spiritual “breathing”.
How grateful I am for Joseph Smith, who restored the Church of Jesus Christ, and that while I went 25 years with only partial access to oxygen, I was able to experience the fullness of the gospel all the while.
I so strongly hope, that all may “breathe” as I do.