Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Angel on Earth

I have a very special sister-in-law. She has a very strong testimony of Jesus Christ even though she can't verbally share it. In fact, she doesn't speak at all. She was born with a rare condition where she is missing part of her brain, the corpus callosum, which is responsible for the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. This has left her innocent and child-like even though she is now 17. She can do few things on her own. She can crawl, eat, mimic a few words, clap, and is learning to wheel around in her wheel chair.
Celeste at the pool

She does enjoy playing games with others. One of her favorites is pushing someone and seeing their exaggerated reactions of spinning out of control or falling down. She loves hearing funny noises like burping. Also, she loves receiving applause in which she reacts with clapping and a loud "Yeah!" and then she expects others to repeat. This cycle of clapping could go on forever if you let it. Sometimes we feel bad stopping because she seems to enjoy it so much.
Celeste playing with her brother, Matt

She also loves some toys -- some pretty unconventional ones. Although she likes Barney and talking stuffed animals like most children she also adores carrying around a bottle of Windex. I don't know why, but there is something about that swishy blue water she enjoys. And most unusually, she loves to carry around a picture of Jesus.

Celeste Playing With the Talking Puppy

I'm not sure that she even recognizes my own face, but she will spend hours a day staring at the face of our Savior. Her parents never pushed this on her. She just found one of her mom's church handbooks and saw a picture of Jesus and ever since she looks for His face everyday. Because she drags it along with her where ever she goes, her parents have found that in order to spare them replacing the picture semi-weekly, they have glued the picture to a piece of wood. This last significantly longer, but they do have backups in case one is lost, which sometimes happens. If Celeste wants her Jesus and can't find it, all heck breaks loose. She starts screaming. She is VERY attached to Jesus. For fun, I sometimes try to pull the picture of Christ away from her (I know I'm cruel), but she just holds tight and pulls it close. She has quite the grip! Sometimes she is just content to hold it, other times she eyes it from all angles, but it is almost always in her possessions or nearby in case she needs it.

Celeste looking at her picture of Jesus Christ

Knowing Celeste has strengthened my testimony of our Savior and of His love for each and everyone of us. Seeing Celeste look at the picture of "Christ in a Red Robe" is enough evidence for me to know that Christ knows us and we, undoubtedly, knew Him before we came to Earth. Like I said, Celeste isn't completely aware of everything around us. She didn't recognize Matt when he came home from his mission, but she recognizes Christ from the pre-mortal life. I'm sure all of us, like her, must have had a very strong bond with our Savior and elder brother. I wish I had those memories, but I must rely on my Faith in Jesus Christ and in His Love and Atonement for us.


Kelli said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing, it made my day!

Brad. Lindsay. Logan. Jules. said...

Wow, Ash, thanks for sharing that dear to the heart personal family story. And thank you for heeding the recent counsel to share the gospel and our testimonies with others through the internet. Such an uplifting daughter of God Celeste must be. I wish I could meet her. Seriously, thank you so much for the story.