“A Secret Prayer,” Ensign, Apr. 1997, 52
The house we were renting sold unexpectedly, and we were forced to move out quickly. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. My husband, Keri, had suffered an accident while working on the ski patrol, resulting in extensive knee surgery. He was frustrated by his condition and his inability to help with the move. At the same time, I was directing a play with a cast of 60 while trying to nurse Keri, take care of five young children, pack up our belongings, and find a new place to live.
In trying to meet our deadline, I had worked myself to exhaustion but had hardly seemed to make a dent. I’d had almost no sleep for several days and was so tired that I just wanted to sit down and cry. I ached from head to toe, and my back, which had been operated on a few years earlier, was starting to ache. Moving was an impossible job under the circumstances, and Keri and I realized we needed help.
We went to our Heavenly Father in prayer, telling him that we felt we were doing all we could, but we needed assistance. Deep in my heart I also had a secret prayer for the comfort and companionship of my mother, who is my dear friend. I was running on empty and felt a strong need for her energy, compassion, and love. Even though I knew it was impossible (my parents were in Africa directing a travel-study program), I yearned for her comfort and closeness.
We felt prompted to call the elders quorum president, and within half an hour a flood of men poured into our home and took over the seemingly impossible job of helping us move. Along with the men came Sharon Larson, a wonderful woman with a perpetual smile and a glow that radiated about her.
Sharon swept the children and me off to the new house to get the beds made up. With love and compassion, she saw to the details of getting us settled in for the night. Under her seemingly magical touch, the children went from crying to giggles and excited chatter. She made beds and bathed the children while I cared for the baby. When the children were all tucked in, she turned to me.
“You can hardly move,” she said. “Why don’t you soak in a hot tub, and I’ll go out and pretend I’m you and tell the men where to put furniture.”
I gratefully took her advice and went to soak away some of the back pain. Later, when I emerged, she sent me off to bed. I could hear the men starting to leave. Then, into my bedroom came Sharon carrying one final gift—my old rocking chair.
“I thought you might want this in here,” she said. “Every mom needs one of these.”
As she spoke, her voice sounded like the voice of my mother, and I realized with a burning that Sharon had been sent by a Heavenly Father who loves and watches over me. Tears welled in my eyes, but they were tears of gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father, an army of service-minded brethren, and a wonderful sister who listened to a still, small voice and became an unexpected answer to a secret prayer.