The Presence of Peace

Several years ago, during a time of personal crisis, I felt incapable of carrying my burdens any longer, though I had prayed for help many times. I turned for advice to a sister in the ward, who suggested that I pray for the presence of the Holy Ghost to give me peace and comfort.

I followed her advice. I went to my “quiet place,” knelt, and pleaded with my Father in Heaven to grant me the peace and comfort that comes with the Holy Ghost. I was so distraught when I fell to my knees that I was sure only a miracle could bring me peace. Even so, I prayed in faith, then got up from my knees and continued with my household chores. In a short time, I realized that I did have peace—perfect peace. A miracle had occurred.

And it continues to be a miracle to me each time it happens. Sometimes I have to repeat my petition three or even four times before peace finally comes, but it does come. It never fails.

This knowledge that if I try to live worthily I can approach my Heavenly Father, asking him for the Holy Ghost to give me peace and comfort, knowing that I will receive, is one of my most cherished possessions. I believe that it is the peace spoken of in the scriptures “which passeth all understanding” (Philip. 4:7). Esther M. Smart, Salt Lake City, Utah

Too Close to Quarrel

They say that the children in most families fight some. I kept reminding myself of this as our family was enduring a particularly long and tense period of quarreling among our four children.

I was nearly at my wits’ end, because none of my “tactics” seemed successful until one day I was reminded of a friend whose children seemed to discuss problems instead of fight about them. The parents almost always put an arm around the children when they came with a problem or a question. It’s difficult to feel hostile when you have your arm around the little one (or big one). Perhaps it’s the arm, and not the question, that is of greatest importance.

Since using this gesture of love with our family, we’ve seen the windows of heaven gradually open wider and wider into our home. Don’t give up. Give love. Karen Mergeler, Laguna Hills, California

Edith

As a college student, I spent some time working in the Mutual program at the state training school for the mentally retarded in American Fork, Utah. I quickly learned to accept and love the “kids.” They were remarkable people whose depth of spirit transcended mental and physical disabilities.

Except for Edith—the victim of severe cerebral palsy. I found it very difficult to work with, or around, her—my reaction to her was so intense. She had to be strapped, hands and feet, to a metal frame to keep her from injuring herself. People told me she had a good mind, but it had taken the state workers nearly forty years to discover the depth of her mind at all, it was trapped in such a cruelly crippled body. The workers had finally taught her to speak, though I still could not understand her. I wondered why she was left here for such a long time, lingering in misery.

One day I happened to attend a fast and testimony meeting at the school. At the very end of the meeting, Edith asked to speak. I wondered why they allowed her to take up time when no one could understand what she said. Then Edith spoke, clearly enough so that even I could understand her. She said, “I love life!”

As I caught my breath, I heard her say, “And I love my Heavenly Father!” I bowed my head and wept.

When Edith finished her testimony, the “kids” sang the song that had fast become their favorite, “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here. …” Each time I have heard it since, I have remembered Edith and the beautiful lesson she taught me. Susan H. Aylworth, Chico, California.

Autumn Interlude

These are the days when monarchs row west on tattered wings. Molten-gold aspen blazes down the hills like slow lava. A hush lies like a haze over a listening world.

These are the days when fruit flies push past screens to the festival of fruit. Peels and pits mound higher as bottles are filled with sweetness. I thank a breeze that cools me from open windows.

These are the days when the kids are back in school. The house stays clean until two-thirty. The quiet deepens. Now to float something fine on the deep and restless silence of my mind. Penny Allen, Bountiful, Utah

[illustration] Illustrated by D. B. Atott