Sometimes all we need is a little light. When I was a little girl I was very afraid of the dark. Darkness brought about the nightmares and night terrors that plagued me. My parents allowed me to leave the hall light on while I fell asleep. The little light provided real comfort. Then if I woke up from a bad dream, I’d find myself alone and in the dark. When I was really little, I would run into my parents’ room, and Mom would pull back the covers and let me slip in beside her. Or sometimes she sat on the edge of my bed to calm my fears. Once after we rearranged the room so when I woke up from my nightmare, the door wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I felt around in the dark for a light and found nothing. I can still remember how frightened I was when my mother came running in to see why I was crying, flipped on the light to find me pounding against the wrong wall.
As I grew older I was too self-conscious about crawling into bed with my parents, but my nightmares continued. Once when I was about eleven or twelve, I woke in terror, too scared to move, so didn’t dare get out of bed to turn on the light, so I kept perfectly still and began to pray. I pleaded for comfort so that I could sleep and get away from my fears. We had a Britney Spaniel named Caesar. And Caesar always, always slept clear down stairs with my brothers. While I was pleading for comfort, I heard Caesar’s feet click across the kitchen floor, then pad down the hall, and into my room. He plopped down on the floor at the foot of my bed. And I was immediately comforted and went back to sleep. That was the only time he slept there.
In many ways, I’m still that little girl in search of peace, alone and afraid and sometimes in the dark. And maybe even pounding against the wrong wall. I may not know, but I believe that I have Heavenly Parents who are mindful of me and my earnest desires, and sometimes desperate pleas. They are near and ready to offer help. Just like the hall light shining just enough light so I could see what’s around me, the answers come just as surely as they did when I was ten years old. Again, I am grateful for these continual years of struggle with my faith as my honesty has led me to strengthened relationships. I can feel the love of my Heavenly Parents offering comfort through the kindness of those around me. Some have acknowledged their own questions and others an encouraging word. Others have become real friends.
A decade ago or so, in an interview with the a member of the stake presidency, he told me that the path may be straight and narrow, but that it was wide enough for individual differences. And I believe wide enough for our individual journeys. My friend DeAnna offered a metaphor of climbing a mountain together holding hands, but each of us having different obstacles in front of us. I have a feeling that our journeys diverge, cross different rivers, rocks and streams, but perhaps meet at the top.