No Bad Dreams

By Ana Nelson Shaw

(Based on a true story)

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The Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted (Alma 17:10).

I didn’t know which was louder—my footsteps in the big, silent house, or my pounding heart. I hurried through the darkness and down the stairs to my parents’ room. I tried to step softly so the stairs wouldn’t creak.

Our hundred-year-old house often creaked and popped at night. Dad said it was the sounds of the old wood and adobe settling as the night cooled down. But it still sounded scary.

Dad was out of town for work, and I felt bad waking Mom up, but I had to talk to her. I stood in the doorway. The moonlight shone through Mom’s white curtains. I felt a little less frightened already.

“Mom?” I called softly.

She turned over. “What’s the matter?”

“I had a bad dream again.”

“Oh no. Come snuggle with me, OK?”

Relieved, I climbed into the big bed. The sheets felt cool and soft. Mom hugged me tightly. “Do you want to tell me about it?”

“It was the dream with the giant shark.”

“You’ve had that dream before,” Mom said. I nodded and tucked my head under Mom’s chin. “Well, you’re safe, sweetheart. Sleep here with me until morning. After school tomorrow, we can talk some more.”

All day I wondered what Mom would say after school about my scary dreams. The shark dream wasn’t the only one. Sometimes I dreamed about a prickly monster. One night I even dreamed that my family was in a car accident.

My dreams really bothered me. Sometimes I screamed and cried in the night. I even felt afraid to fall asleep.

After school, I sat down with Mom. “Are you still thinking about the giant shark?” Mom asked.

I nodded.

“What do you think you’re going to do about those scary dreams?”

“Mom, they’re dreams. I didn’t make them start. I don’t think I can make them stop.”

“Probably not by yourself,” Mom said. “But there’s someone I ask for help when I have a problem I can’t solve by myself.”

“You mean Heavenly Father!” I said.

“Right! You can ask Heavenly Father to help you sleep well at night, with no bad dreams.”

“In my prayers before bed?”

“Then, and any other time you’re thinking about it. I know He will listen to you and help you.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“I ask Heavenly Father about problems a lot, and He helps me. Just this morning I asked Him what to do about your scary dreams.”

“Did He help you?”

“Yes. I had the idea that you should pray about your dreams, and when that idea came to my mind, I felt the Holy Ghost telling me it was a good thing to do.”

“How did it feel?”

“I felt warm and happy, and I felt sure everything would be OK,” Mom said. “Do you know what I mean?”

“I think so,” I said. And then I noticed that I felt warm and happy inside. “Mom, that’s how I feel right now!” I said.

“That’s the Holy Ghost telling you that what you’re learning is right,” Mom said.

That night, and every night for a long time afterward, I prayed that I could sleep well with no bad dreams. My bad dreams didn’t come back. Heavenly Father answered my prayer.

Illustration by Mark Robison