Sun shining behind blades of wheat.

An Unexpected Visitor

During a difficult time for my family, an unexpected visitor brought us hope when we needed it most.

His unsolicited kindness and compassion and his willingness to provide the power of the priesthood during a trying time left an impression that I reflect on often.

Photo by Joel Henry

Who is my light at the end of the tunnel? I could give you the standard answersmy mother, my father, my boyfriend, my bishop. You probably wouldn’t expect it to be the insurance agent from my dad’s company. Yet here I find myself, returning again and again to an experience that has proved to be unforgettable.

I was just finishing midterms and prepping myself for dreaded finals, which were looming ever closer. It was a Monday night, maybe ten o’clock, when I received a call from my dad. What he said shook my world.

“Hey, Zo. I need you home on Wednesday. Your mom will be coming out of surgery for her cancer, and we should be there when she wakes up.”


What surgery?


Hysterics ensued. Tears streaming down my face, I tried to focus on my breathing and come to terms with the fact that my darling mother had cancer growing inside of her.

The next days were a blur. I managed to make it home on Wednesday and sat dazed in the waiting room with my dad. A nurse came and updated us: Mom wasn’t waking up as quickly as expected. We had a few more hours to wait.

Dad and I, both exhausted physically and emotionally, decided to find some lunch to lift our spirits. As we stepped off the elevator in the hospital lobby, I saw the last person I expected: Richard Herd, the insurance agent from my dad’s company. Completely stunned, I shuffled through reasons he would be here, never considering he was coming to see us.

But he was.

He’d heard about my mother’s cancer and scheduled surgery, and he’d come to visit and offer her a priesthood blessing. He knew  that because my father was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my mom may not have been offered a blessing yet.

Richard wasn’t able to give my mom a blessing because she was already out of surgery and couldn’t have visitors. But rather than returning to what I’m sure was a busy day at work, Richard took us to lunch and provided comfort in a time of uncertainty and fear. He quietly listened and offered advice when he could, gently sharing our burden.

After lunch, my mom woke up and we went to her. Richard stayed with us the whole time.

I’d only seen him three or four times before this heavy day, and I’ve only seen him a time or two since, but his unsolicited kindness and compassion and his willingness to provide the power of the priesthood during a trying time left an impression that I reflect on often.

While I am blessed to be loved, supported, and strengthened by an army of family and friends, this moment continues to stand out in my memory as one of pure Christ-like love. I want to emulate it whenever I’m given the chance.

 —Izolde Rhodes, Mormon Insights contributor


Find more insights

Read “The Way to Christlike Love,” by Allen E. Bergin, to learn about ways to develop the love that Christ has for everyone.

Check out Bonnie L. Oscarson’s talk “The Needs before Us” for ideas on how to serve family members, friends, ward members, and people in your community.

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  1. Beautifully written! ❤️

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