So a few days ago, one of my friends asked me if I would be able to take her and her kids to the airport. They had a trip planned to go visit her parents; and her husband would be working and wouldn't be able to take them himself. So of course, I agreed, and showed up at their house at the appointed time. My friend is about 8 weeks pregnant, and has already had a few scares, so for the time being, she is not able to lift more than 10 pounds, at least until everything is stabilized. So anyway, I helped her by loading the suitcases in the car and buckling the kids in their car seats, etc. She had just a few last minute things to gather together for the plane, and then we would be heading out. Well, after a few minutes she came and got me from the car...she did not look well. My first thought was that something had gone wrong with the pregnancy. She told me that she had offered a prayer before taking off, and while praying, she felt that maybe they shouldn't be going. At first she dismissed the thought, considering it just something she had come up with on her own. After praying more about it, however, the feeling was even stronger. It was then that she decided to come and get me from the car, and ask my opinion. I immediately recalled a similar, personal experience. I was reminded of the time, only a few months before my mission, that I had booked a cruise with one of my really good friends. It would be just the two of us...we had taken many trips together, and were especially excited for this one. All arrangements had been made, our money was in, everything was set...we'd be cruising in just under a week...Except, that one night, just a few nights before our scheduled vacation, I received a distinct warning from the Spirit, that I was not to go on that trip. You can imagine what was going through my head upon recieving such a prompting. But, everything was already paid for...and we hadn't purchased any insurance, therefore, would not be getting a refund...and if I backed out, my friend wouldn't be able to go either. There's no way she'd want to go all by herself. Plus, this was supposed to be my big last hurrah before going away for a year and 1/2... All of these thoughts (and several others) ran through my head at the time. But, the more I tried to disregard these feelings, and rationalize going on the trip...the more disturbed I felt. After much thought, many prayers, and even a blessing of comfort, I knew what I was supposed to do...or not do. I was definitely not supposed to go on that trip, and so I did one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I called my friend and told her that I wouldn't be able to go. But, what I was really telling her, was that she wouldn't be able to go, because of me. I felt terrible, but was also at peace knowing that I was being obedient to the Lord's will.
So anyway, I shared my experience of over eight years ago, and suggested to my friend that she not discount the feelings she had been experiencing. We then unloaded the kids from the car, took them inside, and I waited with them while my friend spent some time alone in her bedroom. After what seemed maybe a 1/2 hour, she appeared, with tears in her eyes, and had to explain to her small children why they wouldn't be going on their trip. I thought I was going to lose it (and actually, I did)...and it wasn't even my trip. I just felt so bad for her and for those kids, who had been counting down the days, I'm sure, for the opportunity of seeing their grandparents, and going to the beach. The respect and admiration that I already felt for my friend, increased one hundred fold. I know it took a lot for her to be able to do what she did. It was not easy, what the Lord was asking her to do, but she exhibited her faith...and just obeyed. I'm so proud of her. She has been such a great example to me (in the short time that I've know her) in so many ways. I'm glad that I was able to witness the exhibition of her faith and obedience, and I'm also glad that I was able to share a personal experience with her, which (she told me) helped her have the strength and courage to do what she did. I'm especially grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and for a loving Heavenly Father, who looks out for, and protects his children...and will always bless us for being obedient.
Just in case you were wondering how my cruise story turned out, I'll tell you. My friend and I were able to go on another cruise, just a couple of months later, and even though we hadn't purchased insurance, the cruise line made an exception for us, and we didn't have to pay an extra dime. This friend and her children, were also able to take their vacation...just the very next day. In fact, I took them to the airport today, and she told me that she felt complete peace about going this time.
Maybe someday we'll be able to find out what would've happened, had we not obeyed. Maybe we never will. Maybe nothing would've happened at all...maybe we're given these experiences to test our faith and obedience. I guess the what if's and the if only's are not all that important. The important thing is the demonstration of our faith, and our willingness to obey...no matter the price we have to pay, or the sacrifice required on our end. I know that He will always, always bless us.