“Warm Bath,” Friend, Mar. 1992, 46
One sunny afternoon Cory slipped into the kitchen after finishing his daily chores. “Hi, Mom. What’s for dinner?”
“Hungry so soon?” Mom replied as she wiped flour from her elbows. “I’m making chicken potpie, but it won’t be ready for an hour or so. Think you can wait, big guy?”
“Sure,” Cory said. But instead of running to his room to grab his baseball and glove to practice pitching, Cory stayed in the kitchen and sat stiffly on a chair. “Can I help you, Mom?”
Mom put down the ball of dough she had been molding in the middle of the table and gave Cory a quick glance. “Isn’t it your turn to do the dishes tonight, Cory?”
“I think so.” Cory was staring out the large window over the sink into the bright blue sky. Mom could tell that something was bothering him.
“Hand me the rolling pin from the big drawer there, please.”
As he handed her the rolling pin, Cory asked, “Mom, how do you know when you have done something right”—he paused—“or wrong?”
Mom sat down, dusting off her apron. “Well, I look inside myself. I listen for the Holy Ghost to guide me. If I feel good, it’s usually a good thing. I feel warm all over.”
Cory was confused. “You look inside yourself?”
Mom began again. “Imagine yourself taking a bath. If the water’s warm, you’re comfortable, right?”
“What if it’s cold?” Mom asked.
“You want to get out.”
“Exactly. When something is right, you might never question it. It’s like taking a warm bath. But when something is wrong, it’s like a cold bath; you want to get out. Many times the Holy Ghost guides us by the way we feel.”
There was silence.
“Is something bothering you, Cory?”
“Yeah.” Cory hesitated. “A kid at school wanted me to give him the answers to our homework.” He glanced down to his shoes. “He said I would be a great friend if I did.”
Mom looked at Cory as he wriggled in his chair.
“I said no, Mom, but I didn’t feel warm.”
“Well, what if your friend had asked you for your help instead of just your answers?” Mom asked.
Cory’s eyes brightened. “I would have liked that. That’s not wrong.”
“See the difference?”
“I think so.”
Talking and laughing, they chopped vegetables and cut up chicken and got the pie ready for the oven.
“Thanks for your help, Cory,” Mom said.
“Thank you, too, Mom.”
After school the next day, Mom was in the kitchen, writing out checks for bills, Cory bounded in, followed by a shy, stocky boy. “Mom, this is John. Can we study together at the kitchen table this afternoon?”
“Of course,” Mom answered. She hid her smile as she slipped her checkbook into her purse. She winked at Cory. “I’ll be upstairs taking a warm bath.”