Listen, Listen

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“Listen, Listen,” Ensign, Feb. 1990, 68–69

“Listen, Listen”

It had been an aggravating, irritating, nobody-appreciates-me day. All the packing, planning, and preparation for our annual camping trip had been left to me. Taking for granted that I would see to every detail, my husband, Dave, a surgeon in training, had stayed at the hospital long past our departure time. Again.

Before we even got out of the city, the kids were restless and bored with the confinement of the station wagon’s back seat. When Dave said I hadn’t packed enough activities to entertain them in the car, I snapped.

“She’s just mad at Dad,” ten-year-old Owen told his little sister. It was then that I flipped a tape of Primary songs for children into the car cassette and attempted to smolder in silence.

But the joy of the Primary songs was contagious. One by one each family member began to sing along until even my own anger melted and I couldn’t resist joining in the chorus of “Listen, listen, the Holy Ghost will whisper. Listen, listen to the still small voice.” How quickly the music changed the mood of our little family on that desolate 62-miles stretch of freeway. How quickly and how timely.

“We need to turn around,” Dave said as a refrain from the last chorus faded.

“What for?” I asked. “What did I forget?”

“Nothing,” he laughed. “I just have this crazy, compelling feeling that we need to turn around.”

Just as we had been in unison in our song—suddenly we all felt the need to turn around. And as crazy as it seemed at the time, we followed our instincts, listened to the compelling feeling, and turned around. Shortly afterward, we reached a parked camper we had passed earlier. Now a truck was parked behind it, and its driver stood by the side of the road flagging us down. As we slowed to a stop, his frantic words tumbled out.

“There’s been an accident down there,” he said. “She was driving a motorcycle and it flipped. I think she’s dying.” He motioned to a slight body fifty yards away—a mangled motorcycle beside her. We parked the car, and my husband got out.

We had never carried a first-aid kit, but this time we happened to have an emergency kit with us consisting of medical supplies Dave had picked up at a hospital sale just three weeks earlier. For the first time in our lives, we had it in the car! Feeling helpless and scared, I huddled with the children by the side of the road as Dave grabbed the kit and waded through the grass toward the victim.

When he reached the girl, my daughter said, “We should pray.” Thankful for her suggestion, we bowed our heads. “Heavenly Father, please help Daddy. Help him to know what to do to save this girl’s life …”

As I watched my husband kneel beside the young woman and assess the situation, I was humbled. The young girl was indeed dying—unconscious and not breathing. Dave took out the last two items he had added to the kit: a tube-like device called an oral airway, and a bag that allows the doctor to breathe for the patient. He used them both. Along with his CPR skills, they probably saved her life.

When the ambulance arrived, my husband rode with the patient. In the ambulance, he was able to start an I.V. and talk over the two-way radio to medical personnel at the hospital, preparing everyone for their arrival.

I drove the car behind the ambulance as my mind raced. What if we hadn’t had the first-aid kit? What if Dave hadn’t gone to the hospital sale? What if he hadn’t been trained in CPR? And most of all, what if we had continued to argue instead of sing? Would we have then heard the “still small voice”? Would we have recognized it?

The tape in the car recorder had continued to play throughout the entire drama. Silent and shaken, the children and I listened:

“For all his creations of which I’m a part. Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.”