The Gift of Experience and How it Improved My Perspective

experience

Life is interesting and full of unexpected changes. Regardless of our location along the path, I have learned experience increases my faith and improves my understanding of life. The power of the Holy Ghost and the love God has for each one of us is undeniable.

Children have an incredible way of reminding us how to see and experience the world. One of my life’s many struggles was in getting our son here. It took almost twelve years, and so I especially love to watch his discovery of things around him. I wouldn’t call myself a helicopter mom, but more a helicopter observer of all he does, just so I don’t miss anything.

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My little guy learned a few signing words before building his verbal vocabulary. Once he learned the sign for airplane, he was quick to point out each one as they flew overhead – often he would make the sign before I noticed anything, but sure enough, there was a plane and he was fully aware of it.  

It was the same for birds he’d see out the window and flowers he’d insist on smelling when we walk by.  Rocks with different textures, the feel of pokey grass on his bare feet, or his intense concentration while working with magnets that seem to magically stay on the wall are all fascinating for me to watch.  He is also drawn to very soft blankets and will lay in them for a somewhat inappropriate length of time, just relishing in the joy it brings.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve seen the world with less fascination and wonder and more with practical eyes. There are the concerns of ensuring we’re providing enough for ourselves and our families, keeping up with oil changes and house maintenance.  We experience hardships of all forms, and the childlike lens we once peered through evolves into a complex pair of bifocals, where we have to focus on the here and now and still look toward the future.

Experience

Prior to becoming a mom, I earned a bachelor of science degree in Biology and studied to become an ultrasound tech or sonographer.  Early in the program, we learned the basics of our future profession. The ultrasound machine transmits high-frequency sound pulses into the body using a transducer, or probe. The sound waves travel into the body and hit a boundary between tissues (for example, between bone and soft tissue, or between fluid and soft tissue).

Some waves reflect back toward the probe, and some continue through the body. Those reflected waves are picked up by the probe and relayed to the machine.  The machine will then display the distance and intensity of the echoes on the screen, forming a 2-dimensional image, which you’re probably familiar with if anyone has shown you a picture of their baby in utero.

We also learned how important it was to place the probe down on the body in certain places to provide better visualization of the body part you were trying to evaluate. We called these areas ‘windows’.  It was constantly being taught – “you need to find a better window to see the liver – the ribs are in the way and you don’t have a good view.” Or, “the window you’re using only shows a small section of the artery – move your probe to find a better window.”

For example, to see the kidneys, which are tucked up close to the spine, we usually scan with our probe around the belly button, or just under the ribs, and it allows us to see a full view of the kidney without any interference.  In order to see the brain of an infant, we would use the anterior fontanel, or the soft spot, which provides a window for the sound waves to travel without interference from the bones of the skull.

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My first job as a sonographer was at Children’s hospital.  I’ve always loved kids, and scanning them was an awesome experience.  It was also extremely challenging, considering the vast majority of patients I saw as a student were adults — adults that would sit still and only move when you asked.  Adults that could hold their breath and communicate where it hurt. Adults that didn’t cry at the sight of me, thinking my probe was some sort of shot or owie.

Another difference was the sheer size of the patients.  An infant born at 24 weeks can be about the length of my forearm, and imaging a two-year-old looking for blood vessels in their arms and legs to rule out a blood clot while they throw a tantrum can be quite hilarious.   

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I learned I needed to find the best ‘windows’ for children, and I needed to find them quickly, or I wouldn’t be able to finish the exams.  It took some practice, but soon I could scan efficiently using the best views possible allowing the radiologist to evaluate and diagnose any problems they saw on the ultrasound images.

Yet, even with experience, there were some exams where I couldn’t see anything and would need someone else’s help. Sometimes I could see what I needed, but couldn’t figure out what I was actually seeing.  I would consult other technologists, radiologists, and textbooks, but if I was scanning alone, I’d often say a prayer to know what to do.

The most difficult exams were ones where I could see everything quite clearly, and I knew the diagnosis would be devastating.  In various hospitals I’ve worked over the years, I’ve found multiple tumors, extensive blood clots, and fetuses that no longer had heart tones.

Windows in Our Life

Think about the windows we use in our own lives to view the things of most importance.  Is it hard to see through them because something is interfering with our view – be it sin, laziness, pride, or distraction?  Do you find yourself just using one window, instead of exploring different viewpoints that might provide a more complete picture? When we struggle to understand what we’re seeing through our windows, where do we turn for help?

One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will. The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children. Through the manifestations of the Holy Ghost, the Lord will assist us in all our righteous pursuits.”

There is a “pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God”

In like manner, what will your searching open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? …Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.

Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with the actions you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”

Russell M. Nelson

When we consider the ways in which we can see through our individual mortal windows, one of the most effective ways is being worthy to have the constant influence of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost will teach us, providing perspective about “things as they really are and things as they really will be.  The Holy Ghost will help us by transmitting our feelings, teachings, and testimonies to others – even when we feel inadequate in doing so.

Neal A. Maxwell

Another gift of the Holy Ghost is how He can bless us by guiding our very prayers.  Romans 8:26 reads: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Furthermore, the spirit will show us all things we should do – both major and minor things.

Increased Faith

One question often asked when I was an ultrasound tech was the purpose of the ultrasound gel.  It turns out, the gel is a conductive medium enabling a tight bond between the skin and the probe, letting the sound waves transmit directly to the tissues beneath and to the parts that need to be imaged. Without it, when we put the probe down on the skin, the image transmitted to the machine is complete darkness – it needs the gel to see anything. We often refer to it as a coupling agent.

Imagine the possibilities as we employ the gift of the Holy Ghost as a coupling agent. As I’ve navigated through this experience called life, the spirit has illuminate my way and provide my mortal windows with an eternal perspective. This visualization not only helps me distinguish between what is important but increase my faith.

Curious experience


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