“Mom!” Claire pulled on her mother’s arm as they approached the church. “A girl who just went in is wearing my yellow dress!”
“Is she?” Mom said. “I suppose her mother got it from the exchange table at the Relief Society activity last week.”
“You took my yellow dress to the clothing exchange? I still wear that dress! It’s my favorite!” She pointed to the two butterfly-shaped barrettes in her hair. “I even bought these just to go with that dress!”
“I’m sorry, honey. I haven’t seen you wear that dress in a long time, so I thought you had outgrown it. I’ll be sure to check with you next time before I take any more of your things.”
“But what about this time?” Claire asked. “Tell that girl I want my dress back.”
Mom frowned. “Isn’t she part of that new family? I don’t think they have much money for clothes right now. Let’s think about this.”
Claire was angry as she sat in the chapel. “Why can’t we just get the dress back?” she wondered. “It’s my dress.”
During the sacrament Claire started thinking about Jesus. She had promised to always remember Him. “What would Jesus do?” she asked herself. “I don’t remember Him saying anything about clothes in the scriptures.”
When Sister Baxter got up to talk, she read a scripture that mentioned lilies. Then Claire heard the word clothe. Surprised, she looked up the verse. It read: “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” 1 Claire leaned back on the bench to think. “So there is something about clothing in the scriptures. Maybe Heavenly Father knew that the new girl needed a dress. Mom said her family didn’t have a lot of money. But why my dress? And why my yellow one?”
Claire was still upset when she went to Primary opening exercises. And to make matters worse, the girl in her yellow dress sat right in front of her. Claire tried not to look.
During sharing time, Brother Mason’s class taught about Jesus’s Crucifixion. As she listened, Claire felt terrible about the way Jesus had been treated. Then Mark told a story that really made her sit up and take notice.
“Jesus had a special coat with no seams,” Mark explained. “The soldiers didn’t want to tear it up to share it, so they cast lots to decide who would get the coat.” 2
“So Jesus did have some nice clothes,” Claire thought. “He knows how it feels to have somebody take our clothes.” She listened carefully to see what Jesus would do.
“In spite of how the soldiers had treated him, Jesus prayed for them,” Brother Mason said. “He prayed, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’” 3
“Forgive them?” Claire looked at the girl in the yellow dress. “Does that mean I have to forgive Mom for giving away my dress without asking?” But Claire didn’t feel like forgiving. “If I forgive her, I’ll never get my dress back.” Claire looked at the picture of Jesus. “But I want to do what Jesus would do.” She felt torn and realized that she needed help. She bowed her head and offered a silent prayer. “Please take the bad feeling out of my heart and help me to forgive,” she prayed. She looked at the girl with the yellow dress. “You didn’t know you were taking my favorite dress,” she thought. “I’m not angry at you.” She thought of Mom. “And you didn’t even know I still wanted it. There’s really nothing to forgive.”
Claire was surprised that deep down inside she meant every word. She went to class with a lighter heart. When the new girl was introduced as Megan, Claire invited Megan to sit by her. As the lesson began, she was surprised to hear yet another scripture about clothing. “‘Him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.’ 4 What does that mean to us?” Sister Rawlins asked.
“It means there’s something more I need to do,” Claire thought. “But what? I don’t have a coat to go with the dress, do I?” She pondered the question, and by the end of class she had an answer. After the closing prayer, she turned to Megan. “I love your dress,” she said.
Megan smiled. “Thanks. Yellow is my favorite color.”
“Mine too. And I have something that would go perfectly with that dress.” She pulled the two butterfly barrettes out of her hair. “Here,” she said, holding them out. “I want you to have these.”
Megan gasped and carefully took them out of Claire’s hand. “Thank you,” she said, clipping them into her hair. “You are so nice. I’m glad we moved here. Can I give you something in exchange?” She held out a woven bracelet. “I made it myself,” she said. “It’s a friendship bracelet.” Claire beamed. She was still smiling when she got into the car to go home.
“Well,” Mom said, “should we discuss the problem with the yellow dress now?”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” Claire said. “It’s been exchanged.”
Claire paused a moment, searching for the right words. “Well, when I was finally able to give it away, I got a happy heart in exchange.”
Mom nodded. “I’m so proud of you,” she said.
“And I got something else too.”
Claire glanced down at the yellow bracelet around her wrist. “A new friend.”
“As we sacrifice our selfish desires, serve our God and others, we become more like Him.” 4
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Illustrations by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki