We all make mistakes. Big ones, small ones. Sometimes mistakes can grab us tighter than superglue grabs the wrong place on a model plane, and then we’re stuck.
That’s what happened to me when I was ten.
It all started during a friend’s birthday party. It was evening, and we were in her family’s boat, which was parked in the driveway. We started telling scary stories—the kind that give you the shivers and make you wish that you were at home with your stuffed animals.
Many times my parents had told me not to do such things. They had taught me that Satan was real and powerful in ways that I could not understand. It was a lesson I was sorry to learn for myself. How I wished that I’d been obedient.
It was even fun at first as we laughed the chills away. But soon things changed. The stories got scarier, and a dark, cold feeling came over us and we stopped laughing. We started singing hymns and Primary songs, hoping that we would soon feel better. We even said a prayer.
Over the next couple of days, I couldn’t shake the bad feeling surrounding me. For the first time, I realized just how powerful Satan can be and the consequences that can come from disobedience. I wasn’t just spooked. I wasn’t just scared. I knew with a certainty that a darkness was following me, a darkness that chilled my heart and made my soul quake with fear.
What could I do?
On Wednesday, after school, I walked to the chapel for Primary, which was held during the week in those days. I hoped that I could talk to my Primary teacher and that she would be able to help me find an answer to my problem.
Once I got there, I sat on the curb by the door and waited. And waited. Sitting there with that big building behind me, the wide-open parking lot surrounding me, and the empty field across the street, I felt very alone. I was terrified. I kept sitting there, wondering where everyone was. Why hadn’t anyone come? I went to a different school than the other children in my ward, and I usually didn’t see them walking to Primary. But I knew that someone should have been there—one of the leaders, a teacher, someone starting to set up. But no one came.
I finally realized that I had forgotten that Primary had been canceled. No one was coming.
The awful, lonely feeling grew stronger. It made me feel like I was drowning. I closed my eyes and prayed again for help.
Shortly after I opened my eyes, I heard a car coming around from the other side of the building. I looked up to see a familiar face through the open car window.
President Harold B. Lee, a member of my ward and someone who had been friendly to me, smiled. “Is everything all right?” he asked.
I stood up from the curb and nodded.
“I was on my way home,” he said, “when I was impressed that I should come by the chapel and make sure that everything was all right.”
I looked into the prophet’s face, and suddenly a great warmth filled me from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head. The darkness was gone.
I can’t actually remember if I said anything to him. It isn’t important. What is important is that I knew that not only did Heavenly Father love me but that He had listened to and answered my prayer.
And what an answer! It isn’t often that the prophet and President of the Church is sent to answer a single child’s prayer, but I’m grateful that he was sent. And when I make mistakes, big or small, and I feel them squeezing in around me and I know once more how strong Satan’s power can be, I can hear the prophet’s gentle voice asking, “Is everything all right?” And I know once again that everything can be.