Countdown to Thanksgiving Story #6: Please Bring Us Home!

 

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This Thanksgiving story comes from the New Era, the LDS Church’s magazine for youth. It’s in the February 1999 issue, and it’s by Janna DeVore. The title is Please Bring Us Home.

Here is the story:

About 15 miles north of Elko, Nevada, is a stretch of highway dotted with signs warning motorists not to pick up hitchhikers because of a prison facility nearby. To four college students traveling from Provo, Utah, to San Francisco, these signs were a bit unsettling. My roommates and I were certainly glad to cruise by them on our way to California’s Bay Area for Thanksgiving weekend. We didn’t think twice about the signs until four days later on our way back to Provo. It was then that our car suddenly stopped precisely 10 yards north of one of those ominous blue signs.

Our first instincts were to flag down another car and ask for a ride back to Elko. But images of escaped convicts kept us locked inside the car. It was four in the afternoon, it was snowing, and it would definitely be dark and very cold within the hour. We needed help fast but were too afraid to even get out of the car. We offered a short prayer, and 30 minutes later a man driving a snowplow stopped and radioed the police for us. A young officer piled us into his car, called a tow truck, and dropped us off at a motel in Elko.

We soon got over our fears and realized how blessed we were to get off the highway unharmed and be in a safe, warm motel room. Our only problem now was getting back to Provo. Each of us dialed home collect, expecting that our parents would wire money for bus tickets or a rental car. We were surprised when each set of parents immediately offered to drive to Elko and get us.

Even for the closest set of parents, this meant a three-hour drive to Elko and a four-hour drive back to Provo. It meant disrupting work schedules and finding baby-sitters for the other children. Eventually we decided that it would be best for Jenni’s mom and grandpa to drive down to get us. Relieved, we went to bed and expected to see Jenni’s mom by noon the next day.

Things didn’t go quite as planned. Overnight the snow storm had worsened, and the roads were terrible. Despite leaving Salt Lake City at 10:00 A.M., Jenni’s mom didn’t get to us until four that afternoon. The roads back were equally icy, and a typically four-hour drive took six hours. Still, Jenni’s mom and grandpa never uttered a word of complaint during the entire drive home. They were only happy to help and grateful that we would be home soon.

No matter where we had been stranded, any of our parents would have done all they could to bring us back home. The same is true of our heavenly parents. And our Heavenly Father will take us all the way home, not just to a safe resting place. No matter how lost or confused we may be, we need only to make a humble call to our Heavenly Father, promising to heed His words, and He will lead us back.

Unfortunately, our earthly parents are not always at the other end of the line when we call. Many parents cannot or will not answer their children’s cries. As I rode home from Elko in the safe confines of a warm van, I realized just how much my parents love me. Even more, I knew that my Heavenly Father would always help me. He does so without complaint, for He is happy just to know that I am on my way home and will soon be safe in His arms.

Having driven through more than one snowstorm, I fully appreciate this story! I lived in Utah for about 35 years so I’ve had my share. One time I had driven the kids down to a homeschool event an hour south of where we lived. We left to go home around 4 PM but the snow started falling and I got scared. I have had natural birth 5 times, so I know I’m a strong woman who can have nerves of steel when I want to, but when it comes to driving in the snow, I am a wimp. Or maybe just overly cautious? I called my parents who live about 10 minutes from where I was driving and asked if I could spend the night instead of driving home in the storm. They were more than happy to put me up for the night with my 6 (at the time) rambunctious kids. My husband is a lot more brave driving in the snow. I can’t count how many Christmas parties we drove home in what seemed like blinding snowstorms. All that is blissfully over for a while now that we live in Southern AZ, praise the Lord.

We had the most picturesque Christmas last year. It hadn’t snowed all month. Then it snowed during the night on Christmas Eve. We woke up to a beautiful powdered sugar dusting of snow on Christmas Sunday. We drove to church, where I accompanied a men’s trio singing a song with Sally DeFord at her finest (translate: the piano accompaniment was hard with tons of eighth note chords! I had had only one week’s notice to practice.  I skipped many notes, and I’m sure many people weren’t the wiser! My older daughter thought it was just supposed to sound minimalistic.  :-))

Oh, how I digress! This Thanksgiving season, I’m so grateful for earthly parents and heavenly parents. I know that Heavenly Father is more than eager to hear our cries for help and answers us in the best way possible for our eternal growth and joy. Our Heavenly Father is like the most doting grandparent imaginable: one who drops everything when we call and only does things for our ultimate joy. How grateful I am that He has provided a way for us to return home to live with Him again, through the redemption of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

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