By Emily J.
One of the most terrifying experiences I’ve had happened when I was about 14 years old, visiting my family in Greece. It was the first time I had ever been there, and the first time I had met my Greek side of the family. It was a bit of a culture shock for me in my grandma’s tiny, shack-like house in Sparta, all the different food, loud music, and OPA! It probably wouldn’t have been as much of a shock if any one of them spoke English or if any one of us spoke Greek. Most of the time I had no idea what was going on. It was the end of the night after a late dinner and the crowd of relatives started to die down until just a few of us were left.
Since there was only one bed and a couch at my grandma’s house, we weren’t going to fit me, my mom, my 3 sisters, and my brother-in-law all in one all in one place. Some were leaving to stay at my cousin’s house while I was left to share a small bed with my little sister. I did not like this set up at all, my sister had kicked me all night long the night prior. Last minute, I decided to sleep in my older sister’s bed at my cousin’s house. I ran inside to gather my things and when I came out they had already left.
I was determined to not have another bad night’s sleep so I told my mom I knew the way since I had already been there earlier that day. I set off down the dirt road, alone in Sparta, Greece, at 11:00 at night. It didn’t take long before I realized that nothing looked familiar; it looked very different at night than it had during the day. I decided that before I really got lost I should just go back to my grandma’s house and tough it out for another night. I turned back but soon discovered that I didn’t know which way I had come from.
My heart started to pound as I realized I was in trouble. The night seemed to get darker. There was no one on the streets, but I wouldn’t have been able to ask for help anyway. At times large dogs would bark at me as I walked down the dirt roads looking for anything that looked familiar. Fear took a tight grip on my lungs and I couldn’t breathe.
After what seemed like an eternity of hopeless wandering, getting more and more frantic as each minute passed by, I knew that there was only one person who could help me. I was always taught growing up that God could help me in whatever situation, and I had always received peace from praying to him. I knew he could help me then too, so I stopped and started to pray to my Heavenly Father. I asked him to help me find my way and that I would be kept safe. As soon as I finished my prayer, I felt the grip around my lungs loosen and I was finally able to breathe. A very distinct thought came into my mind that said “turn left.” I obeyed without hesitating and turned down the road to my left.
I followed the road for a few minutes, still not knowing where I was, and saw a shadow in the distance walking toward me. My gut reaction was to hide but the calm came over me again and I kept walking. I finally make out who the shadow was, and I realized it was my aunt. She was surprised to see me all alone in the streets. I was so calm that it wasn’t until she took my hand that I realized I was still shaking. Without a word she guided me the rest of the way to my cousin’s house.
As soon as I was inside, I went into an empty room, knelt down and thanked God for guiding me to my aunt and for keeping me safe and calm. I know that God hears my prayers, and that he speaks to me too. Sometimes it’s through thoughts, sometimes through feelings and sometimes even through other people. All I need to do is turn to Him and trust in Him. At times I feel lost in my life, not knowing what I should do, but I know He is there waiting for me to ask Him for help so He can lead me back home to Him.