Go Back to the House


(Based on a true story)
They that are wise … have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide (D&C 45:57).

They had left him! Derek stood in the driveway with his shiny black Sunday shoes in his hands. He had been digging the shoes out of the bottom of his closet when he heard the car’s engine starting. Bounding down the stairs, Derek only caught a glimpse of the family van as it turned the corner.

Derek was sure that his family hadn’t left him on purpose. Mom probably thought he was in the backseat of the van. A lonely, empty feeling filled Derek’s stomach. What was he supposed to do now?

Sitting down in the middle of the driveway, Derek pulled on his socks and shoes. If his family had forgotten him, he would just walk to church by himself. It was a warm day, and he was pretty sure he knew the way.

He started confidently down the street. He walked past the Garretts’ house, past the tree house in the willow where he played after kindergarten, and past the Petersons’ house. He was about to turn the corner when a sudden thought came to him: he needed to go back to the house.

Derek stopped mid-step. That was silly. Why should he go back? He stood silently on the deserted sidewalk, thinking about what to do next. He took another step down the street.

The thought came again, this time stronger. “Go back to the house!” He turned and ran as fast as his feet would carry him back to the house. He ran past the Petersons’, past the tree house, and past the Garretts’, his Sunday shoes pounding loudly on the sidewalk. He ran through the front door and slammed it shut behind him. Out of breath and filled with panic, he slumped down in the corner of the family room behind the couch and curled up tightly in a ball. He could hear his heart pounding loudly in his chest. He shut his eyes tightly and murmured a short prayer. “Please help my family to come find me soon!”

As soon as he had finished saying the words, he heard the front door open. “Derek?” someone called. Derek peeked over the couch. His older sister, Amanda, was standing in the doorway. “Oh, there you are!” she exclaimed when she saw the top of his head. Derek ran to her, threw his arms around her legs and started to cry. Amanda knelt down to give him a hug.

“Oh, Bud,” she said softly. “It’s OK. You know we wouldn’t ever really forget you.”

Derek nodded through his tears. “I started to walk to church, but then I heard something telling me to go back to the house. Then I said a prayer, and you came back.”

“Good job!” Amanda said. “You must have been following the promptings of the Holy Ghost!” Derek was surprised. Was that who the thoughts had come from?

Amanda continued, “I’m glad you came back because it helped me to find you quickly. What if you had walked a different way than I came home, or if you had gotten lost? You made the right choice.”

Derek smiled at his big sister. A warm feeling started in his heart and filled him up inside. “Thank you, Amanda,” he said. “I’m glad that I listened to the Spirit.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Mark Robison