“Remembering,” Friend, Nov. 1998, 3
Susan flopped onto her bed. She lay back and looked at the poster on the ceiling of Meggen and her. Her mother had taken the picture of the two of them on their horses last summer and had surprised them with poster-size prints for Christmas.
Meggen had long, strawberry-blond hair that flowed over her shoulders. Susan’s own hair was black, curly, and cropped just below her ears. Meggen was thin and graceful. Susan was a little on the short side with round cheeks. Meggen had helped Susan’s family move into their new home. She had been riding her horse by their home when she saw the moving van and offered her help.
Meggen first introduced Susan to Pal, her palomino. Then she introduced her to the other children in the neighborhood. Sometimes Susan felt self-conscious around Meggen, who was exceptionally pretty. Today she had discovered that they differed in more than looks.
Closing her eyes, Susan relived every detail of their conversation as they walked home from school. Meggen wore her hair in a French braid down her back. Faded summer freckles framed her slender nose and brown eyes. …
“Are you entering the horse show in Middleton?” Meggen asked.
“No, I can’t this time—it’s on Sunday.”
“You go to church every Sunday,” Meggen complained. “It wouldn’t hurt to miss once. This is the biggest horse show of the year.”
“I know,” Susan replied wistfully, “but I want to be at church on Sunday.”
“What’s so exciting about church?”
“I don’t go to church because it’s exciting,” Susan tried to explain. “I go because … well, because I have a testimony.”
“What’s a testimony?”
Susan opened her mouth to answer and closed it again. “I don’t know how to explain it,” she admitted. …
Susan rolled over onto her stomach and buried her face in her pillow. “How do you explain what a testimony is?” she asked herself.
She knew that she had a testimony. Just last fast Sunday she had followed Sister Hawkins to the stand. As she waited her turn, she looked over the congregation. I hope Marianne or Jill comes up and sits with me, she thought.
Sister Hawkins’s voice broke as she spoke of the Atonement. Why does she always cry when she bears her testimony? Susan wondered.
“I know Jesus Christ is the Savior of us all,” Sister Hawkins testified. “When I miss my husband and others who have passed on, I pray to Heavenly Father for comfort, and through the Holy Ghost my heart is filled with the Savior’s love. Then I don’t feel lonely anymore.”
Susan felt peace filling her heart as she listened. Tears moistened her eyes. The words to a Primary song came into her mind. “I feel my Savior’s love In all the world around me.”*
She closed her eyes and thought of the mountains. Red and yellow patches covered their sides. She loved autumn. She especially liked the smell of the air. She often saddled Lightning and galloped up the mountain road, breathing deeply.
She imagined the Savior creating the mountains, filling the streams with crystal water, and planting the trees for her. The feeling inside her kept growing until a tear trickled down her right cheek. She wiped it away with her index finger as the chorus came to her: “He knows I will follow him, Give all my life to him. I feel my Savior’s love, The love he freely gives me.”
When she walked to the pulpit, for the first time she didn’t think about her friends or about how proud her parents would be. She offered a silent prayer before she spoke. Please, Heavenly Father, help me to feel my Savior’s love like Sister Hawkins does. She felt a sweet peace flow over her. Her prayer had been answered. Tears streamed down her face. All she could say was “I feel my Savior’s love too. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
Those feelings returned as she lay on her bed, remembering. She knew how a testimony felt, but how could she explain it to Meggen?
On the way to school Friday, Meggen’s eyes flashed with excitement. “You’ll never believe what Dad gave me at breakfast, Susan—a new saddle! You just have to stop by after school and see it.”
Even though Susan felt good about her decision not to enter the Middleton horse show, it was hard to hear Meggen talking about it. They had gone to every horse show together since Uncle Gordon had given her Lightning for her eighth birthday. They’d taken a 4-H horsemanship class together and had learned about grooming and riding. Both girls had collected a wallful of ribbons and a few trophies in the years that followed.
“I hope Pal wins the trophy again this year!” Susan exclaimed, and she meant it. But she wished even more that she could answer Meggen’s question. Please help me to explain to Meggen about testimonies, she pleaded silently. She had offered this prayer many times this past week—sometimes aloud on her knees in her bedroom, and always in her heart when she and Meggen were together.
A new idea slipped into Susan’s mind. “Do you remember when Pal won the trophy last year?”
Meggen nodded. “It was the most exciting day of my life!”
“And when you remember, do you still feel the excitement?”
“Sometimes I lie on my bed, holding the trophy and reliving every moment,” Meggen admitted. “I brushed Pal’s hair carefully and braided it with blue and yellow ribbons. I was so nervous, my hands shook when the judges came by. And I screamed when they announced I had won.”
Susan winced. “I remember that part. You screamed into my ear.” They laughed together. “Remembering is wonderful, isn’t it?”
Meggen nodded again. “I’ll always remember that day, no matter how long I live. I’ll probably tell the story over and over to my grandchildren.”
“And you’ll always have special feelings each time you do,” Susan assured her. “That’s what a testimony is like, Meggen—remembering, and having wonderful feelings when you do.”
“Remembering that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me.”
“Have you ever seen Heavenly Father and Jesus?” Meggen questioned seriously.
This is going to be the hard part, Susan thought. Heavenly Father, please help me, she prayed in her heart. “I haven’t seen Them with my eyes.”
“What other way is there to see someone?”
“Before we were born on earth, we were spirit children of Heavenly Father,” Susan explained. “So was Jesus. My spirit eyes saw Them. I don’t remember what They look like or what They said and did, but my spirit remembers. I don’t remember in pictures and words, but in feelings. I’ve felt Their love for me over and over in my heart. I know that what I’m learning in church is true, because I feel Their love when I’m there.”
They had reached the school grounds. Children were calling and chasing each other on bikes. “Do you really believe you have a spirit and a body?” Meggen asked.
“Yes, I do,” Susan said softly. “I know it’s true because I asked Heavenly Father if it was. And through the Holy Ghost, He answered me. I know that my spirit remembers places and people my body has never known. I’m learning to let my spirit teach my body.”
“Do you believe I was a spirit too?”
“Yes I do.”
“If that’s true,” Meggen reasoned, “then my spirit should be able to remember too.”
Susan nodded. “If you learn to listen, it will.”
“Will you teach me, Susan?”
Susan’s heart again filled with peace. She knew that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ loved Meggen even more than she did. “I can try,” she assured her friend, “but there are lots of other people to help you too. There are my parents and my Primary teacher. The missionaries can help too. Best of all, the Holy Ghost can help you. He’s a spirit, and He knows just how spirits remember.”
Meggen reached out and clasped Susan’s hand. “Do you feel that love now?” she whispered.
Susan nodded—she was too happy to speak right then. The school bell rang, and the girls broke into a run, still holding hands.