…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Something the Lord Made

By Rex Goode


I’m unavoidably alone tonight on Monday. It being Family Home Evening, I figure that if I’m going to write, it should be something about family. That’s easy today given the three days I’ve just experienced.

On Saturday, I didn’t lose a son. I gained a daughter-in-law. My son married a beautiful Filipina woman. They’re now on their honeymoon. It was a physically demanding day and I woke up Sunday morning, exhausted.

There was no time to rest. My daughter’s triplets were being blessed. My other daughter and her family came from points northward to be there for the occasion. In the sacrament meeting where it happened, all five of my children were there. All of them who are married, including the one who was married the day before, brought their spouses and children.

It was a rare occasion where my entire posterity was gathered in one room to come together for a spiritual and family milestone. All seventeen souls, if you count the one in my second daughter’s womb, were there. I was deeply moved by this fact.

Milestones like these always cause me to reflect on the course my life would have probably taken if it weren’t for a profound spiritual experience I had over thirty years ago. This was driven home to me recently when I watched the film, And the Band Played On, about the rise of Acquired Immunodeficincy Syndrome, also known as AIDS.

I cried when I watched it, for many different reasons. I cried for the dead and dying, those who are still dying. I cried for the lack of value we as a society placed on their lives. I cried that we didn’t seem to care that it was killing people as long as we thought of it as a predominantly gay disease. I cried for myself. I am of the right age that I could have easily fallen victim to it. I was certainly headed for a high-risk lifestyle, one that still after all these years can tug at my heart at the most unexpected moments.

In the same week I watched that, another video arrived by mail that had a deep impact on me. It was Something the Lord Made. It was the story of the Vivien Thomas, a young, black, male, lab assistant who pioneered cardiac surgical techniques in an era where he could not receive proper credit for it. The credit went to his employer, Dr. Alfred Blalock.

At one point in the movie, Vivien is showing how he worked out a surgical technique that cured a baby of a usually-fatal heart defect. As they operated on the baby together, Dr. Blalock asked Vivien, “Are you sure you did this? It looks like something the Lord made.”

This film made me cry too. I cried for the system that could not appreciate the value of someone because of his color. I cried that his friend was too oblivious to class differences to know that he should share the credit. I cried that Vivien sacrificed going to medical school to work for Dr. Blalock. I cried because of a different meaning of Dr. Blalock’s statement for me. They were good tears.

My life has been blessed by a wonderful and numerous posterity. I owe it all to an answer to a prayer one night decades ago. When I near the end of my life, I hope I have the wisdom to look at my family and say, “This is not something I did. This is something the Lord made.”

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