Can I Be Forgiven?

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“Can I Be Forgiven?” New Era, Mar. 2000, 9

Can I Be Forgiven?

The pain was terrible as I realized what I had done. I truly wondered if I could ever move on or find peace.

Just two weeks into the new school year, my best friend, Scott, and I were driving home discussing our plans for later that evening. As we pulled into the driveway, I saw my dad working on the barbecue. As I stepped out of the car, I told Scott I would be ready for him to pick me up later. My dad, overhearing the conversation, told me that he was having students from his college ward over that evening for a ward social. “I could use your help getting things ready,” he said. I turned to Scott and told him that our plans would have to be postponed.

As Scott left, my dad asked me to take the grill’s propane tank to the store and fill it. After quickly changing my clothes, I loaded the tank into our truck and drove toward the store.

Between my home and the store there is an elementary school. I was well aware of the school as I had gone in that direction many times. But this time I was in a hurry and did not pay attention to the school zone speed limit. I knew school had been out for about an hour, so I ignored it.

After filling the tank, I headed home. As I approached the school, I had the feeling I should slow down. I didn’t heed the prompting and continued on. As I came closer to the school, I saw Bobby Logan,* a young boy from my ward, run onto the road.

He was on his way to the school to play with his sister and some of his friends. As Bobby came to the road, he stopped and looked at me. I started to slow down, again feeling the prompting. As I approached Bobby, he looked directly at me. We had eye contact for a second, and I had the thought that he was going to run in front of me. At that very moment, he did.

I was too close to miss him, and although I hit the brakes, it was too late. Realizing what had just happened, I quickly got out of the truck and ran to Bobby, who was lying on the ground. I ran to his house and told his mother to call an ambulance. Then I went back to Bobby’s side. I offered a silent prayer and pleaded for his life as I knelt beside him.

Bobby’s mother arrived and immediately checked for a pulse. I was crying hysterically and repeatedly said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hit him.” Sister Logan looked at me and told me that she forgave me.

The ambulance arrived and took Bobby to the hospital, but he died about 30 minutes later. My bishop came to our home with the tragic news of his death. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t know what to do or say. I was devastated.

A few days later I saw the Logans. As we visited, Sister Logan told me that the family felt strongly that Bobby was happy. She told me they held no harsh feelings toward me. As I heard these things, I felt the Spirit testifying to me that what she said was true, and their sincerity was very real.

During the next few days I struggled with the realization that I had taken another person’s life. As I battled with my emotions, I withdrew more and more. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything.

One day my mom and sister persuaded me to go with them. They were conversing in the front seat of our car, and I was lying on the back seat, pondering the question why and wondering how I could ever move on from that point in my life. Again I offered a silent prayer to Heavenly Father for the strength to overcome this obstacle. In the midst of my crying and praying, I suddenly felt the most overwhelming feeling of joy and peace. It was at that moment that I knew Bobby was fine and that he was happy. I also realized how much love my Heavenly Father has for me. I could truly feel His arms of love and understanding around me.

Since that day I began healing from my emotional pain. It took a long time for me to get to the point where I could accept myself again, but I knew I was on the right track. Because of this experience, I have become even more grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I can’t imagine trying to endure this without the love of my family, the Logans, and countless friends who rallied around me. I saw the gospel in action. I saw my Savior’s healing hands work through those I love. I also know the Spirit is one of the most precious gifts we have.

The Logans are my heroes because they epitomized Jesus Christ from the very beginning of this ordeal. They forgave. For that I am eternally grateful. I know that I will see Bobby again and that hopefully then his family and mine will rest together in the heavens.

Illustrated by Scott Snow