“The Comforter,” Friend, Mar. 1981, 32–33
Jenni Lynn was still worried about yesterday’s Primary lesson. Carefully shutting her bedroom door, she pulled her thinking chair out of the corner and sat down to give some thought to what she had learned in Primary. Jenni Lynn was seven years old, and Sister Hendley, her teacher, had told the children about baptism and confirmation. Sister Hendley said that every person who was confirmed a member of the Church received the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Jenni Lynn was afraid of ghosts. When her friends told ghost stories, she plugged her ears. When scary shows came on television, she ran into her bedroom and shut the door. Shawn, her big brother, and Lisa, her big sister, laughed at Jenni Lynn and called her a scaredy-cat. She didn’t like their teasing, but still she was afraid of ghosts.
She wanted to be baptized and to become a member of the Church. But I don’t want to have a ghost around, Jenni Lynn worried. In two more months I’ll be eight. What can I do?
At dinner Jenni Lynn watched Shawn and Lisa. She watched Mother and Daddy too. They had all been baptized and confirmed. They all had the gift of the Holy Ghost. But they didn’t act as though they were scared. She was the only one. Maybe I shouldn’t be afraid either, she reasoned.
The telephone rang, interrupting Jenni Lynn’s thoughts.
After Dad had answered the telephone, he said, “Grandma is coming a day early. I have to go to the airport after dinner and pick her up.”
“Oh, my,” said Mother. “I’m going to need some help getting everything ready.”
“We’ll help!” the children said, jumping up from the table.
Shawn helped clear the table. Lisa didn’t complain once as she did the dishes. Jenni Lynn helped Mother get Grandma’s room ready. She dusted the dresser and helped Mother put pretty flowered sheets on the bed.
“Grandma will need a blanket, too,” said Mother. “Jenni Lynn, will you please go get the comforter out of the cedar closet.”
Jenni Lynn ran into her parents’ bedroom. She started to open the cedar closet and stopped. Sister Hendley had said that another name for the Holy Ghost is the Comforter. What if a ghost were in the closet? She turned and ran back to her mother. Trying not to look frightened, she asked, “What’s a comforter?”
“It’s a soft, fluffy quilt,” Mother answered as she opened the dresser drawers to see if they were clean.
“Why is it called a comforter?” Jenni Lynn asked.
“Because it’s warm and soft. When you wrap it around you it makes you feel safe and good inside,” Mother explained.
Jenni Lynn sighed with relief. There wasn’t a ghost after all. She ran back to the bedroom, opened the door to the cedar closet, and lifted down a beautiful pink satin comforter. It was shiny and slippery to touch. Then she sat on the bed and pulled the comforter around her and over her head until there was only a hole big enough to peek through.
Mother was right, thought Jenni Lynn inside her comforter cave. I feel warm and safe in here. She sat still for a long time because it felt so good.
“Hurry, dear,” said Mother, coming into the room. When she saw her daughter, she asked, “What are you doing all wrapped up in that comforter?”
Jenni Lynn peeked out. “It feels good, Mother,” she said. “Just like when you hold me on your lap.”
“Does it, little one?” smiled Mother as she sat on the bed and cuddled Jenni Lynn close.
“Mother, why do they call the Holy Ghost the Comforter?” asked Jenni Lynn.
“Because He’s a special friend. He comforts you. That means He makes you feel warm and safe and helps you solve your problems,” answered Mother.
“Just like this comforter makes me feel warm and safe; right, Mother?” asked Jenni Lynn.
“Almost,” said Mother. “Except He’s a real person.”
Jenni Lynn snuggled closer to her mother and said, “But I thought that He was a scary ghost. I was afraid of Him.”
Mother laughed. “You and your ghosts! Well, He’s not that kind of ghost. The Holy Ghost is just a name that shows He is a spirit without a body. He loves us and Jesus sent Him to help us. Now why don’t you help me put that satin comforter on Grandma’s bed?”
Jenni Lynn jumped off the bed and helped Mother gather up the comforter in her arms. Just as they reached the door, she looked up at Mother and said, “Know what? I can hardly wait until I have the Holy Ghost for my friend.”