Grateful for the Savior

“Grandma Rose passed away at about 9:30 this morning.”

I heard the words, but my mind refused to process them. After her four-year battle with cancer, seizures, and strokes, I knew that she deserved to rest from all the pain she’d been suffering. But how could she really be gone?

My denial was shattered by reality when I walked into the funeral home. The body lying on a table no longer looked like my grandmother.

My mom and aunt bravely set about the tasks of dressing Grandma for her funeral and then fixing her hair and makeup. She looked a little better when they finished but still not like herself.

As we drove away from the funeral home, I realized why she was so different: the body was hers, but her spirit was gone. A body without a spirit is an empty shell. Until I saw my grandmother, I didn’t comprehend how literally true that is. Everything that made her essentially who she was had left with her spirit, and her spirit lived on.

The Son of God gave His life for us so we could live forever. I always knew that was true, but I didn’t really appreciate His sacrifice until I lost someone I loved. At that moment, I had never been so grateful to have a Savior.

New Best Friends

When I moved to Colorado, everything was different and strange to me. I was so lonely. My family eased some of the loneliness, but I still felt hollow inside. I figured it was because I was hours away from the friends I had known since I was two. That wasn’t the only reason, though. I had not been saying my prayers every night or relying on the Lord as I should.

School started, and I made some new friends who had high standards, but I was still lonely. They weren’t close friends I could talk to like those I had left behind, so I wallowed in self-pity, frustration, and tears many times that year.

One night, after I had managed two fouls and a pass in the wrong direction at a ward basketball game, I went home, buried my head under my pillow, and sobbed. I sobbed all the way through my homework until my brother, who was at college, called. My dad had him talk to me.

I told my brother about how I felt, and he suggested that I read this scripture: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

My brother and I then made a deal that we would each try to help those we met at school who might need a friend. I decided to become a friend to others instead of feeling sorry for myself. The feeling of making someone else’s day better was wonderful.

Though I still miss my old friends, whenever I need a shoulder to lean on, I know I can turn to my family and to Heavenly Father. They are my best and closest friends.

Prompted to Leave

I never really understood the statement in 2 Nephi 32:5 “the Holy Ghost … will show unto you all things what ye should do” until I experienced it.

My friends and I often took our bikes to a place we called the dirt hills. It was our favorite place to go. It was only about a mile from where we lived, so we could ride our bikes to get there. We would literally spend hours at the dirt hills jumping and riding our bikes. It was great fun.

One day, my friend Tyler crashed his bike. He seemed to be OK, and the bike looked OK, so we kept jumping. After about five more minutes, I stopped. Tyler rode over to me and asked what was wrong. I told him that I had this really strong feeling that we should leave and go home, even though we had only been there about 15 minutes. Tyler told me that he had the same feeling, and we both realized it was time to go.

As we rode closer to home, Tyler said that his bike was acting weird. As we got to the corner of the street where we both lived, Tyler’s bike broke into pieces—the pedals fell off and the chain broke.

What would have happened had we not followed the prompting to leave and had still been jumping? Tyler may have been seriously hurt. The Holy Ghost knew it was time for us to go. I am so thankful that we listened.

Illustrations by Gregg Thorkelson; photograph by Matthew Reier