If you've ever wondered what a day in heaven would be like, I can tell you; it's spending the day with Elder Schenk! Today was very special for me as I had the chance to be "mom" to Britten while Karla attended some activities with her other sons. From the moment I arrived, I remembered why I love this young man so much! As I entered the room, Britten threw his arms open and said, "Oh, it's the cool lady!" My children may argue that point, but it made my day!
Britten has always been an over-achiever and even in the midst of this overwhelming trial, he still has the heart of a champion! All day long, through six long sets of therapy, he showed his competetive spirit and pushed 'til there was nothing left to give! During one round of Physical Therapy, he worked on climbing stairs. After the first try, he said, "I know I can do better than that!" Then, without any coaxing, he began to go up and down the stairs, over and over, until his motion was fluid and his steps sure. Wow! My memory of therapy includes a therapist begging me to try a little harder and finally resorting to bribery with chocolate! Ha! Not Britten! He knows instinctively that repetition is the key and hard work will get results. I was amazed.
At lunchtime, Britt received a surprise visit from Grandpa Andreasen! His face lit up as Grandpa came in and they embraced! What a special bond these two have! It was the highlight of Britt's day to talk with a man he obviously loves so much and to share a few laughs!
Perhaps my favorite part of our day was around 4p.m when the therapy finally ended and Britt fell into bed exhausted! I turned on some music and thought he would fall right asleep; but to my surprise he began to talk. With a humble heart and faithful spirit, this young Elder shared his tender feelings and heartfelt testimony with me. It was such a sacred experience to hear him testify that he KNOWS his Father in Heaven loves him and is helping him. He repeated this witness several times and I will never forget the Spirit I felt and the tears that fell as we talked.
Tonight, as I went to leave that small hospital room, I took one last glance at the beautiful pictures of family that surrounded the now sleeping giant, Elder Shcenk, and the motto posted on the wall-- "...Your future is as bright as your faith" --and I really felt like I had glimpsed a bit of heaven in Britten! What a loving servant of the Lord, who knows who he is and where he is going. Elder Schenk helps everyone around him want to be a better person and focus on what really matters--the things of eternity.
Elder Britten Schenk has a VERY BRIGHT future!
I love you Britten. Thanks for letting me spend the day with you!