“My Brother’s French Horn,” Ensign, Aug. 2010, 67–68
I grew up to the sound of my older brother practicing his French horn. Day after day, year after year, the sound of his horn emanated from our house. I could even hear it blocks away when I walked home from elementary school.
If challenged, I would surely have contended that my brother was the best French horn player there ever was. Nevertheless, his constant playing embarrassed me sometimes, and once I asked my mother to make him stop. He would even bring his French horn on vacation!
Years later my brother and I found ourselves at a music competition in northern California on the campus of a big university I’d never been to before. While there, my high school madrigal group earned a top ranking, which meant we got to do an encore performance later that day. We were given directions as to where and when to meet, and we all went on our way. Soon I found myself alone, standing in the middle of the campus looking at all the tall buildings. I couldn’t see anyone I knew, but I remembered what my mother had told me to do if I ever got lost: “Stay where you are.”
I stayed but was too shy to ask for directions; besides, I didn’t know where I was going. I couldn’t remember anything we’d been told about where or when to meet. But suddenly the thought occurred to me to ask Heavenly Father for help. I was not a member of the Church at the time, but I had attended church regularly with my Latter-day Saint friends and had been taught that Heavenly Father answers prayers.
So I stood there and silently prayed in my heart. Before I had even said amen, my ears perked up. Far off in the distance, ever so quietly, I heard a familiar sound—a sound I had heard most of my life. As I started walking in the direction of the music, it grew louder. Could it be my brother’s French horn? I was sure of it.
But then other French horns started playing. I hesitated. Did I really think I could tell which of all those horns was my brother’s? Every time I doubted, however, I heard his horn, as if beckoning to me. As I entered a building, climbed the stairs, and got closer to the music, I grew scared. The thought of opening the wrong door to find someone I didn’t know made my face turn red. When I reached the third floor, I listened one more time, made my decision, took a deep breath, and opened the door. There he was!
Heavenly Father gives us His Spirit to teach us, testify to us, protect us, and guide us to safety when we feel alone and abandoned. We learn His voice by hearing it often and becoming so familiar with it that we can recognize it in the midst of many other voices that would lead us astray.
We should not be embarrassed by His voice or hesitate to follow it. If we ask Heavenly Father for His help and then listen, ready to obey, I know we will hear Him.