The author, Steve Mikita, knew what he was doing when he titled the book. Here’s why:
Steve was born with a disability called spinal muscular atrophy. I would give you the Wikipedia definition, but I think I’ll refrain because we’d all be scratching our heads afterward. Essentially, it’s a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. Clear as mud? Good. Steve has lived his whole life—more than 50 years—in a wheel chair. He has never walked, ridden a bicycle, or driven a car—all things you and I would consider normal and even mundane.
I read a lot of books and enjoy doing so. However, the books that touch me as deeply as this book did are few and far between. And this book reached deeply, and didn’t just touch, but grabbed my heart.
Chapter three, “We Do Not Doubt Our Mothers Knew It,” was my favorite part of the book. You may recognize the chapter title from Alma 56 and the story of Helaman’s stripling warriors—an appropriate theme for this chapter. And yes, I know, odd, that I would single out a favorite chapter, but I did. It only took me three hours to read the book, but I spent about 40 minutes reading this chapter over and over. Throughout the chapter, Steve shares tender memories of his mother encouraging, teaching, and reminding him that he has not brought you this far to fail. My eyes welled up with tears as I read how Steve’s mother entered his room three or four times a night to turn him from side to side, because he couldn’t do that himself. She did it all, everyday, without complaining. He was her son, and she viewed the service she gave to him as a gift and a privilege.
I honor this woman, Mildred Mikita, for her sacred example of receiving her four children and doing everything in her power, literally, to raise and teach them, ultimately to return them to her Heavenly Father. He entrusted one of His son’s to her care, and expected that Steve would be well cared for. Was he? Yes. Mildred didn’t join the Church until later in Steve’s life, but she was still in tune with the Spirit enough to recognize a choice child of God, and the care and love he would need in this life. She knew who she was and what purpose she was to fulfill in her life.
As I finished chapter three, I stopped and asked myself, “What about me? Do I truly know who I am and what purpose I’m to fulfill in my life? Will I have that same dedication, vision and love when the time comes for me to be a mother?” I sincerely hope so.
I think every woman needs this quote in her kitchen, on her bathroom mirror, maybe in the car, the laundry room, you get the point: “May each of us treasure this truth: one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.” (Monson, Behold Thy Mother, 31-32)
I stand all amazed at Mildred Mikita.
I stand all amazed at my mother, Joy.
I stand all amazed at my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Steve Mikita’s book, I Sit All Amazed, is available at Deseret Book and on DeseretBook.com.
Ashley Jones practices public relations for Deseret Book. She loves writing, emailing her missionary sister, and making/ eating home-made popcorn.