“I Just Wanted a Friendly Visit—Was That Too Much to Ask?” Ensign, December 2019
Sometimes our healing comes as we allow ourselves to be tools in our Heavenly Father’s hands. As we trust in Him, our needs can be met, although it may happen in unexpected ways. I certainly wasn’t expecting the answer I got when I was praying to have a friend.
I wasn’t praying to have a special friend, just a nice, what I’d call “warm bread” kind of friend—the kind that shows up at your doorstep, has a short conversation with you, and leaves a warm, comforting loaf of bread behind. I was so lonely, and I was sure that God could grant me this because it was such a small thing.
With my husband working on a college degree, he was often gone for long hours. And he would return home with loads of homework that took the rest of his time. He also needed to take our only car each day to get to the school, leaving me at home alone with a toddler and an infant and no car.
To make matters worse, it was the middle of winter, so it was too cold to take my kids outside. And I was too shy to meet new people. So I stayed indoors every day, doing household chores and caring for my kids. The only socializing I did was crammed into two days each week: Saturday, when I went grocery shopping, and Sunday, when we went to church. And even then, although I was surrounded by people, I felt alone. Then Monday would come and restart my weekly cycle of laundry, dishes, diapers, and loneliness.
As I got to know our new ward, I started hearing the sisters in Relief Society sharing amazing stories. Many talked about the relief and comfort they had received when others brought them wonderfully warm loaves of bread. I immediately thought of these stories as a solution to my problem. That night I prayed with faith, asking Heavenly Father to send me a “warm-bread friend” to comfort me.
The next day, no one came. I was still alone in my tiny apartment with two little children. I was heartbroken, but I kept waiting. I knew that many members gave each other loaves of bread. I didn’t think it was a crazy wish, like asking for money to fall from the sky! I just wanted one of those sisters to bring me a loaf of bread, to share a conversation, and to heal my loneliness. Was that too much to ask?
Another Sunday came, and another. And with those Sundays came more stories of warm bread and cheered hearts in Relief Society. I felt like I was being taunted. Why was no one coming to see me with a warm loaf of bread?
I thought that Heavenly Father had abandoned me, and I felt even more lonely. Didn’t He know that I was hurting and depressed? Didn’t He know that I was going crazy stuck in my apartment every day? All I wanted was a five-minute visit from a friend!
Feeling sour and hurt by my abandonment, I did something really hard. I got on my knees and prayed again. It was not a happy prayer. I was mad at the Lord. I thought it wasn’t fair that other women in the ward were getting these angelic warm-bread visits and I wasn’t. I asked my Heavenly Father why.
Suddenly, the Spirit whispered, “Because you are meant to bring the bread.”
I was struck by that. Warm-bread friends take two people—a giver and a receiver. Why did I have to be the one to receive it? Maybe someone else was just as lonely as me, waiting for a friend to come to them. My perspective changed as I realized that I could be the one to reach out.
This was no easy task for a mom with two small children. But there is always a way (see 1 Nephi 3:7). I waited until my husband was home, and we made the sweet loaves of cinnamon bread together.
When we delivered the bread that night, I was able to connect and reconnect with far more friends than I would have if I had gotten what I originally asked for. Instead of enjoying the company of one warm-bread friend, I was able to enjoy the company of many by delivering the bread myself. When I thought I was abandoned, God had answered my prayer with His infinitely greater plan.
Now that we’ve moved, we have been blessed by delivering bread and connecting to people once again. I am often reminded that we are all in this life together, sharing many of the same trials. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has counseled, “As [Jesus Christ’s] disciples, let us fully mirror His love and love one another so openly and completely that no one feels abandoned, alone, or hopeless.”1 The reward of baking our cinnamon bread is much sweeter now than it would have been if we had eaten it ourselves—though sometimes we do that too.