“Good morning,” Mom greeted Kim cheerfully. “Breakfast is almost ready. Would you finish setting the table for me?”
Kim put silverware and a glass at each plate, pulled out a chair, propped her head in her hands, and stared at the flower pattern on her plate.
“Are you excited about your all-day picnic,” Mom asked as she laid a plate of homemade bread on the table in front of her.
“No,” was Kim’s glum reply.
Mom pulled out the chair next to her and sat down. “Did you and Carrie have a fight?”
“Oh, no, Mom,” Kim was quick to answer. “It would almost be easier if we had.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, Carrie and I have been planning this picnic for weeks. We have a bag full of our favorite picnic food all ready. I checked out two books I’ve been wanting to read, and Carrie is bringing her dolls and a big quilt for us to spread out under the tree in the east field. I thought it was going to be a perfect day.”
“It sounds perfect to me,” Mom agreed.
“Something smells terrific,” Dad said, sniffing the air hungrily as he entered the kitchen. He leaned over to kiss Kim on the forehead. “How’s my girl this morning?”
“Not too good. I have everything ready so that Carrie and I can leave right after breakfast. But every time I think about the picnic, instead of feeling excited, I get this thought in my head: Don’t go to the field today.
“Last month when you confirmed me in sacrament meeting, you said the Holy Ghost would speak to me in my thoughts to help me know what I should do. When I think I shouldn’t go, I get the same warm feeling that I had while your hands were on my head. But when I start to think of all the reasons I want to go, the feeling starts to fade away. What should I do?”
“We could kneel down and pray together about it,” her father suggested. “If it is a warning from the Holy Ghost, you’ll know when we pray.”
Kim pushed back her chair and knelt beside it. Her father and mother joined her.
“I’d like to offer the prayer,” Kim said.
“That would be best,” Dad agreed.
Kim thanked Heavenly Father for the pretty day, for the beauty of the earth, for her friend Carrie, and for her parents. Then she thanked Him for being able to be baptized a member of the Church and have the gift of the Holy Ghost. “Please help me to know if the Holy Ghost is warning me to stay away from the east field today.” As she finished her prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, she felt a warm tingle spread through her, starting at her head and flowing down her whole body. She knew what she must do.
Before knocking on Carrie’s door, Kim took a deep breath and offered a silent prayer to Heavenly Father to help Carrie to understand. She thought, She’s not a member of our church, but Dad said the Holy Ghost can still help her to not be mad at me.
“Cookies!” Carrie greeted her as she threw open the door and displayed a plateful of Kim’s favorite kind, peanut butter. “Fresh from the oven. Mom and I spent the morning making them for our picnic. I’m just about ready to go. Hold these while I get the quilt.”
Kim had stepped into the living room before Carrie noticed that she was empty handed. “Where’s the rest of the picnic?” she asked. “Did you forget it?”
“Not exactly,” Kim said slowly. “It’s … well—I don’t think going to the field is a very good idea today.”
“Why not? Did your mom change her mind about letting us go for the whole day? We could come back early.”
“No, it doesn’t have anything to do with my mom. I just have a feeling that it wouldn’t be a good idea. I don’t really know why. Do you understand?”
Carrie was silent for a few moments. “OK,” she agreed, shrugging her shoulders. “What do you want to do instead?”
Kim said a quick thank-you to Heavenly Father in her heart. “I knew you’d understand!” she said. “My dad set up the tent in our backyard before he went to work so that we could spend the day out there if we wanted to.”
“OK. I guess we’ll still need the quilt.”
“And the cookies!” Kim laughed.
Kim was sprawled out on her stomach in the tent, reading a story to Carrie, who was styling her doll’s hair, when Jake, Carrie’s little brother, came barreling in. “Fire!” he yelled.
“Where?” Kim asked, jumping to her feet.
“Down the street,” Jake continued between gasps. “The east field. The whole thing is in flames! Mrs. Dodd already called the fire department.”
Kim and Carrie raced the three blocks to the edge of the street going along the field, with Jake trailing behind them. Tongues of fire leaped and danced across the yellow field. Sirens announced the arrival of the fire trucks. As the flames came closer to the street, the children retreated to Mrs. Dodd’s lawn and watched the firefighters battle the blaze. When the last fire truck pulled away, all that was left was black stubble dotted with pools of water. Even the bark of the lone tree in the field was scarred black.
Carrie, Kim, and Jake walked back to Kim’s yard in silence. “How did you know?” Carrie asked Kim.
“The Holy Ghost warned me,” Kim explained. “It was a gift I was given when I was baptized and confirmed. I was promised that the Holy Ghost would help me know what I should or shouldn’t do if I learned to listen to Him.”
“Does He talk to you?”
“Sort of,” Kim explained, “but not the way you and I talk to each other. He makes me think things. That’s probably why it’s called the ‘still, small voice.’”
“Then I think He was telling me not to be mad at you when you said we shouldn’t go to the field,” Carrie whispered.
There it is again, Kim thought as a warmth filled her until she felt as though she’d overflow with happiness. It’s strange how such a still, small voice can give you such a big feeling, but I’m sure glad that it can!