“One More Week,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 66–68
As I edged my way through bumper-to-bumper traffic, I stared at the foothills draped in yellow haze. Rather than focus on the stop-and-go routine in front of me, I conjured up the image of a cool mountain forest and pine-scented air, crisp and clean. Work and worry had dulled my senses, and I knew nothing could revive them like a weekend of camping.
I touched the folded check in my shirt pocket to assure myself that it was still there. This overdue payment from a completed job would relieve some of the financial tension I’d been feeling and provide a way for a much-needed rest.
For the past few years my small landscape company had reminded me of a roller coaster ride: the ups and downs of contract disputes, slow-paying clients, and fluctuating economic cycles had challenged my ability to provide for my family.
I was still one year from my goal of earning a bachelor’s degree and making a career change. As I had attended afternoon and night classes at a nearby college, it had become increasingly difficult to balance family, classes, study time, and business deadlines. My wife, Patty, worried about the stress I was experiencing daily, but I assured her, “All I need is a weekend in the mountains with you and the kids. When I get paid for that last job, we can afford a short trip.”
So as I inched my way along the freeway, I resolved to take my family hundreds of miles from the nearest traffic tie-up.
On Friday evening, after my last class, we would head for the hills.
But our plans unraveled on Friday when the bank notified us that my client had cancelled payment on the check right after giving it to me. Not only did I have to cancel our trip for lack of money, but my own payments to suppliers were at risk. I needed to stay home to bid new jobs in order to solve our present dilemma.
After doing poorly on a midterm exam that night, I drove home feeling beaten and discouraged. “Can I take this pressure one more week?” I muttered.
But I had not counted on the love and support a spouse can give in times of true need. As I rounded the bend in the road leading to our home, I saw Patty standing next to the tent she had set up in the yard. She didn’t need to say a thing—it was there in her smile. The potatoes were peeled, the dutch oven was nestled in hot coals, and the picnic table was spread for dinner. All I needed to do was cook. She knew that was my favorite part.
I found it hard to speak through the lump in my throat. Though she couldn’t make all our financial worries disappear with this supportive gesture, Patty had magically brought me the peace of camping in the mountains. She had followed the Lord’s counsel to “lift up the hands which hang down” (D&C 81:5). At that moment I realized that no matter how hard the work, I could do anything for one more week—and even longer.