When I was a teenager, my independence and my privacy were very important to me. So I didn’t like our family rule that Mom and Dad always had to know where we were, who we were with, and when we would be home. But even though my siblings and I complained about it, we abided by it.
During my junior year in high school, my 13-year-old sister, Jenni, and I played on a volleyball team. Our team was not the best or the worst. We just played to have fun.
One of the most exciting matches of the season, involving several teams, was scheduled for a Friday night at a location about 40 minutes from our home. Since I’d had my driver’s license for more than a year, Mom and Dad let me drive our van to the match, with my little sister as my companion. Jenni and I didn’t always get along, but we had a great visit on the way to the match. Being alone gave us the opportunity to really talk. The evening was as much fun as we had anticipated. After saying good-bye to friends, Jenni and I headed for home.
Just 15 minutes into the drive—and on a busy freeway—we ran out of gas. It was a dark night, so we hoped we could coast to the next off-ramp. But the van came to a stop under an overpass more than a kilometer from the exit. Scared, we offered a prayer. “Heavenly Father,” we prayed, “please help us find a way to get home safely.”
As we ended our prayer, I remembered learning that in an emergency we should lift the car hood and put something white on the antenna, so we did. We knew it was just a matter of time before a police car would drive by and offer to help. But three times we saw police cars pass us without stopping, even though we were flashing our lights and honking.
Discouragement nearly overcame us, and we decided it was time to pray again. Finishing the prayer with tears streaming down our faces, we talked about possible solutions. We could see the exit sign and decided to walk toward it, hoping to find a telephone.
After walking almost half a kilometer, we heard vehicles approaching us and slowing down. Were our prayers going to be answered? We turned and saw two motorcycles coming toward us. At that moment we both felt very strongly that we should return to the van.
Back in the van, huddled together, we tried to comfort each other. Then, as the Spirit whispered peace to us, we looked out the window and saw our mother and father coming to a stop on the other side of the freeway. Relief and gratitude overwhelmed us as we ran into the arms of our anxious parents.
“How did you know?” we asked. Softly and clearly our parents answered that they knew where we were, who we were with, and when we were supposed to be home. Because we had always followed this rule, they knew to come looking for us when we didn’t arrive home on time.
I was never again annoyed by my parents’ strict rules.