“A Warning Voice,” Ensign, Apr. 1984, 65
Spring break! At last I could put my studies aside and relax. I was taking my children to visit my mother—leaving college books, schedules, and worries behind.
The visit home was not going to be as pleasant as in past years. Dad had just undergone spinal surgery, and he would still be in the hospital, probably in a great deal of pain. To make matters worse, Mom had developed a severe case of the flu and had to stay in bed to avoid developing pneumonia. So it became my responsibility to go to the hospital and sit with Dad. I found that the only way to ease my own pain at seeing him in agony was to make four or five short trips daily, rather than one long visit. Each trip into town became physically and emotionally draining for me.
Still, I was trying to find small ways to relax and enjoy this precious week, and I was pleased when my young daughter, Karen, asked if she could go with me to see Grandpa. We asked my niece, Amber, to go with us to keep Karen company. I hoped the nurse would let them visit Grandpa for a few minutes. Just knowing that they were going along seemed to lift my burdens, and I began humming as we climbed into the car for the trip into town.
The girls were soon wrapped in their own chatter, and I was absorbed in the beauty of spring. But as we drove along, the peace of the moment was soon shattered by a quiet, yet piercing voice which seemed to permeate my being: “Slow down, NOW!” My immediate reaction was to put my foot on the brake, and the car began to lose speed.
I felt rather silly, partly because I had been driving considerably below the speed limit before I heard the voice, and partly because I thought I was hearing things. I glanced quickly up and down the highway and could see no immediate danger—yet I could not take my foot off the brake, and the warning of the voice persisted. I glanced at the girls to see if they had heard the voice, seeking confirmation, yet knowing in my heart that the voice was indeed real—so real that I actually looked around to see who was speaking.
I gripped the wheel nervously, my hands moist with perspiration. In the past, such a warning voice had always signaled imminent danger; but now the only traffic I could see was a semi-truck coming toward us and another semi-truck approaching us from behind, about half a mile down the road. My body had become tense and the girls’ chatter had dropped to near silence as they seemed also to sense danger.
I glanced farther down the road, searching for any apparent problems. Suddenly my eyes riveted on the semi-truck coming toward us. As it rounded a corner, a gust of wind tore away a massive door from the side of the trailer and sent the door somersaulting through the air toward us. The door was much larger than our car, and at the angle it was flying, I thought it would surely crash through the windshield and slice the roof off the car. Instinctively, I pushed Karen to the floor beneath the dash and told Amber to lie down flat on the seat. They moved immediately and without question.
The door continued hurtling toward us, splintering as it flew. It seemed to be moving in slow motion. I continued to steer, blessed with an inner calmness because I knew that I had been warned by our Heavenly Father, and I felt his protection. My major concern was that Karen and Amber would be safe.
I had applied the brakes with all my strength and was trying to steer clear of the door and flying debris. Then the door twisted suddenly, missing the front of the car by about a foot. Hitting the shoulder of the road, it splintered into hundreds of small pieces and filled the air with more flying debris. There were still many pieces large enough to cause a serious accident—yet every piece missed our car.
Relieved, and thinking the danger past, I glanced in the rearview mirror only to discover that the semi-truck behind me was now so close that all I could see in the back window were its grill and headlights! My thoughts were racing. I felt as though death had missed us head on, only to stalk us from behind! There was nothing I could do to avoid a collision. I prayed with great earnestness, pleading with the Lord to spare us once again. Just as I finished my silent prayer, traffic cleared and the driver was able to maneuver his truck into the oncoming lane of traffic and miss our car.
As my mind cleared, I realized how close death can be, even when we least expect it, and how often life hangs by the thin thread of obedience to laws, signs, and promptings of the Spirit which may be so faint that they often go unheeded. The warning voice I heard was as real and forceful as any words I have ever heard spoken, and I acknowledge with gratitude the protecting hand of our Heavenly Father.