Please Clear the Way for Me

    “Please Clear the Way for Me,” Ensign, Jan. 2000, 63–65

    “Please Clear the Way for Me”

    The day began with a sense of foreboding when a routine check-up with the pediatrician raised concerns about my baby.

    “Let’s go home now, Mommy,” begged my three-year-old daughter, Dana.

    “As soon as we can,” I promised. “Just one more stop. You’ve been such a good girl.” Through all the tiresome waiting she’d looked at picture books, amused the baby, and behaved as patiently as a toddler possibly could. After two sets of x-rays were taken, the technician released us without any comment about what he saw on the films.

    Finally we were on our way home—until we encountered the flagman in front of the hospital. A road crew had stalled traffic. Two long lines of cars took turns passing slowly through a narrow lane between immense pieces of heavy equipment. To me, distracted by a now-cranky toddler and a screaming baby and numb with anxiety, the delay seemed interminable.

    When we finally arrived home, I placed the baby into her crib with a bottle and quickly made Dana a peanut butter sandwich. At last I had a minute for myself. Running cool water over my face in the bathroom soothed and refreshed me.

    Suddenly the bathroom door burst open. “There’s a pretty butterfly in the backyard, Mommy,” Dana announced excitedly. “Can we catch it?” She danced from side to side with anticipation, holding up a canning jar. “Can we, please?”

    I hesitated. Catching butterflies was the last thing on my agenda for the afternoon. But Dana had been so good all morning; surely I owed her my undivided attention for a while. “Just a minute,” I said, giving her my stock answer for delaying action as I turned back to the mirror.

    But a minute was too long. Seconds later I heard an ominous crash. Dana lay flat on her stomach, shards of the broken jar scattered across the floor, and a shocking crimson stain spreading over the white tile. Lifting her carefully, I discovered a deep cut across her left inner wrist that slashed six inches down her arm. Tiny, truncated vessels poked upright through the skin, spurting precious blood.

    I grabbed a hand towel and wrapped it around the wound; it was soaked in seconds. While applying a heavier towel, I noticed the blood was coming in regular pulses, unmistakable proof of arterial bleeding. I hoisted Dana to my shoulder, where she hung limply. Somehow I got the baby into her car seat, and in desperation I carried both of them at once to the car.

    Wrapping the bloody towels as tightly as I could around Dana’s arm, I settled her on the back seat of the car. Her eyes were closed; she was pale and frighteningly quiet. I rammed the gearshift into reverse and tore out of the driveway.

    Then I remembered the road construction in front of the hospital. How would I get to the emergency room quickly through that labyrinth? For the first time since the terrifying crash in the bathroom I thought about praying. Almost as if the words had been spoken out loud, a scripture crossed my mind: “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). Of course I knew it wasn’t.

    “Heavenly Father,” I pleaded aloud, “I know nothing is too hard for Thee. I need to get my child to the hospital quickly. Please clear the way for me.”

    Just then I turned onto the busy street leading to the hospital. I couldn’t believe what I saw. An hour before it had been choked with chaotic congestion and clogged with construction equipment and traffic. Now the scene was completely different.

    The road was clear as far as I could see: not another car going my direction, not one piece of yellow equipment or a single orange caution sign in view. The surface was hard and smooth and black—freshly rolled asphalt ready to carry us quickly to help.

    “Thank you, Heavenly Father,” I said fervently as I pressed the accelerator. Within minutes I drove into the emergency entrance of the hospital. An orderly hurried outside. He gently lifted Dana out of the car. I followed him, carrying the baby in her seat, weak with relief and gratitude.

    If you’d asked me at noon to estimate how long the road construction might go on, I’d have said cynically, “A year and a day.” Yet somehow it had been completed in time for us. Just in time.