Carrying Whitney

One of the young women who came on the trek with us to Martin’s Cove had some definite physical challenges. I don’t know specifically what caused her difficulties, but she couldn’t walk as well as most and her legs were somewhat crooked. However, Whitney was determined to walk every step of the way–and as much as she could, she did! When we left camp the second morning to trek the three miles back toward the visitor’s centers, Whitney walked. At one point, she slipped in the mud and fell and I quickly jumped in front of our handcart and pushed against the bar to stop it from running over her. We were following a bit close, but when your family members are eager to push the cart, it’s hard to say anything to discourage them. At any rate, Whitney was fine and got up and continued walking. The pace that morning was much more relaxed and she was able to walk the entire way. In fact, she even walked another mile up to Dan Jones cove where we heard the story of the Cove from one of the senior missionaries who serves there. It was awesome. After he was finished, we all began to walk up into the cove. I don’t know why, but I ended up walking right behind Whitney. I didn’t really know her. In fact, I had never even talked to her before, but I knew that she had some difficulty walking and her Ma was not nearby for whatever reason. So, knowing how eager all of the youth were and feeling that someone might accidentally give her a “flat tire” and trip her up, I walked behind her up the hill. The youth who were walking faster walked around us and all was well. At one point, Whitney staggered a little bit and and I asked her if she was ok. She said she was and I told her to let me know if she needed help. She probably walked another half mile, during which time we formed a single-file line and walked a few feet apart in silence so that each might have the chance to have a spiritual experience in that sacred place. Sis. Taylor (Whitney’s Ma) was out of breath when she caught up. She had hurried to make sure that Whitney was alright. When she caught up, Whitney could walk no further so I offered to carry her because the carts cannot be pulled up into the cove so everyone was afoot. I crouched down and Whitney climbed onto my back and I piggy-backed her up the hill. What a beautiful experience! I had no real personal spiritual experience about the cove this time through like I had had before–my sole focus was on making it so that this wonderful little young lady could have one. She’s a tiny thing, but carrying her up the hill was more difficult than I had expected. However, I truly felt the joy of service at this moment and would never have complained and, if necessary, I would have carried her all the way. I’m sure that I would have been strengthened just as the pioneers were in their time of need. However, there were many strong young men in the group and there was no need to carry her all the way by myself. Sis. Taylor went and found a young man and asked him if he would carry Whitney for a ways. What a beautiful thing! This young man took her on his back and carried her up the hill, but more than that, he talked to her and cared for her and made sure she was ok as he walked up to the top of the cove. It was truly beautiful! We took a rest on the benches at the top of the Cove and heard more history/stories from the missionaries there. During this time, I decided that maybe if two people locked arms and made a bench, that they could carry Whitney more easily, but Seth said that he could carry her by himself. I had not doubts but that he could, but had only hoped to make it a little easier for him if possible, but he wouldn’t let her go. Again, he hoisted her onto his back and carried her down the back side of the cove. Many times, he was asked if he needed to be spelled, but he refused. Many young men offered to carry her for a while, but were unsuccessful.  Finally Seth allowed another young man to carry her for a ways down the hill. What a wonderful experience! I wish that each young man there had had that experience. I think it was one of the most spiritual of my life and I feel so blessed that I was able to carry Whitney for a part of the journey. Nothing selfish in my life seemed to matter as I was completely focused on helping Whitney to do what she so desperately desired, but that her body was unable to do. Someday, this beautiful young woman will be free of her physical challenges and will have a body that will match the strength and determination of her spirit. Another experience that I’ll never forget as long as I live…

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One Response to “Carrying Whitney”

  1. Leigh Says:

    Ok I am soooooooo going to blame my hormones on this one… 🙂 I am crying like a baby after reading this post. What a special young lady Whitney is and how blessed she was to have such caring men around her to help her along the way. I can just picture you men carrying her…tired…but never letting her know that so she could have an amazing experience despite her physical impairments. I have no doubt this is something she will never forget. Thank you for sharing this story.

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