Good Carma


This last month has not been stellar for my family. Two car accidents, a broken foot, health problems, and cancelled work contracts all added up to more than we had on reserve, both emotionally and financially. So when I got in the banged up car that was NOT in the shop and it sputtered and threatened to die, my heart sank. Rationally I knew that whatever happened with the car we’d be fine. But I also believe that the Lord is aware of our breaking points, and I was dangerously close to mine.  That’s when I laid my hands on the dashboard on my ’98 Sienna and asked that its life be extended and expressed my gratitude for a car that has seen me through so much.  In short I blessed my car. 

While the judgy part of my brain thinks my actions were a bit ridiculous and possibly heretical, there’s another part that wonders how my praying for a car is any different from the stories we hear of a pioneer woman blessing her fallen oxen. I also thought of my father and his fondness for referencing Eugene England’s essay “Blessing the Chevrolet.”  My dad was a bit sarcastic about it and always laughed at the absurd image of England laying his hands on the hood of his old Chevy that refused to start while he was traveling out of town. “If he’d bought a Toyota he never would have had to resort to such measures!” my dad remarked one time. But I could tell he never doubted that the blessing, however unorthodox, had been efficacious. It was priesthood power, and not luck, that got that car going again.

Others may find my actions disturbing not because the recipient of the blessing is a vehicle, but because I am a woman and hence, am not authorized to give blessings. As anyone who has read about the early days of the Church knows, women routinely gave blessings.  And the temple is filled with women who exercise that gift. Much has been written about this by people much cleverer than I am. But let me add that there are many wonderful spiritual gifts out there.  As these are gifts that Lord gives freely and are used to bless the lives of others, I see nothing wrong with being the vehicle of these blessings.

The next day I took in the car (that I affectionately refer to as Grizzly) and my mechanic diagnosed it as a loose thingey-ma-bobber, kept if for a half hour, and charged me $40.  When I returned home I got on my knees and thanked the Lord for his tender mercies and pledged to be generous with whatever life was left in that car.  Ever since my husband’s grandma loaned us a car in 2000 when ours broke, he has insisted that if we have a second car, we need to be willing to loan it to anyone who needs it. So Grizzly spends a fair portion of her life in other people’s driveways. I am convinced that the goodness of my husband’s heart has been returned to us over and over. Call it karma, or better still, “carma.”

So what is my point? I believe that the Lord watches over us in our trials, whether large or small. I believe that as a faithful saint I have access to the priesthood. I believe that blessings are a sacred and powerful means of comingling our righteous desires and concerns with the Lord’s. I believe in miracles, even in the automotive variety. I believe in the spirit of reciprocity, that all our sacrifices and service will flow back to us in a tidal wave of blessings.

Because Grizzly is old and our lives are busy, she doesn’t get tidied up much. For a whole week after this incident I could see an imprint of my two outstretched hands, a testimony in dust, stamped on the dashboard.  The marks have since faded but my faith has not.



  1. “I believe that blessings are a sacred and powerful means of comingling our righteous desires and concerns with the Lord’s.”

    This is the best description of what a blessing is that I’ve ever read. I really admire your faith, it seems so strong nothing could hold it back, not lack or priesthood ordination or anything. While I would really love to see women and men working together as ordained priesthood bearers, I think that vision of mine is kind of tainted by my weak faith in what the priesthood can do. If I were in your place I probably would have just cried or cursed and called a tow truck.

    Anyway, faith is not my strongest spiritual gift, and healing isn’t a gift I have at all. So it does me good to hear your story. I just loved this post.

  2. I believe too.

    After my awful years of unemployment, break ups, cancer, and the like, I see clearly how blessings, large and small, are mixed in to our every day. And I’m so much more grateful for them.

    Onward. One shaky step at a time.

    I pour consecrated oil on my car and promise the Lord that if he will keep it on the road, I will use it to serve in whatever way I can. And that ghetto Honda is still moving.

  3. I too have felt the need to ask for a blessing on a car, actually several times. And interestingly, each time my prayers were answered (would that ones for people were so easily supported in the affirmative!) Most notable was my experience parked near the Eiffel Tower with three of my high school/college aged children one summer vacation. We had rented a small car in London for a four week trip to see Europe, pasting together the five favored destinations of each of us as the itinerary. It was only when we were in Croatia that we discovered that this car should not have been taken outside the UK, so we were particularly careful after that. Paris was near the end of the trip, and it was there that the car decided to die. We couldn’t call the emergency number for the rental because we shouldn’t have been in France at all. We tried everything to get the car going, and nothing seemed to work. Gas was fine. Battery seemed fine. I tried calling my husband in the Marshall Islands for suggestions, but he was in a meeting. It was getting dark. We’d been trying for several hours. So finally I just prayed. And the car started. We had no more trouble with it. It was all quite amazing. And I was very grateful, because we were in quite a pickle otherwise.

  4. So beautifully written and so very poignant . Your faith strengthens me and the miracles in your life confirms there are miracles in mine. The blessings of the priesthood is available to all of us and I love how you know that!

  5. Wonderful. Painful. Perfect. Thank you.

    I too have “laid my hands” on my car(s) to administer blessings. Funny how intuition and natural inclination just takes over when we are in crisis.

    I was a single mom for twenty years. ‘nough said. God is good.

  6. “But let me add that there are many wonderful spiritual gifts out there. As these are gifts that Lord gives freely and are used to bless the lives of others, I see nothing wrong with being the vehicle of these blessings.”

    I agree wholeheartedly, Heather. Thank you for writing this lovely post.

  7. Heather, I always love your posts and this one I have come back to read 3 times this week. So much to think about and so full of goodness.

  8. Thanks for all the love! Since posting this I’ve had so many women share stories of blessing nonhuman things: cars and cats and sewing machines and laptops. It all makes me smile to know that women seem to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

  9. I resonated with this post, so much Heather, as I am one of the many women who have laid my hands on an inanimate object, while calling down the powers of heaven. I was a baby freshman at BYU, and needed my computer to un-crash itself so I could print my (already written) final paper before the deadline.

    The blessing worked.

    I didn’t think very much of my action then: I just sensed that a regular prayer was not enough. Maybe I remembered learning that Latter-day Saint women before me blessed their own oxen, as my dad once blessed our family dog.

    I also love your testimony at the end that God cares about small (and large) things. I share in that testimony.

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