On this day, as I reflect on that life-changing experience, I am immediately and easily brought to a gentle weeping of tears and am tenderly reminded that God is mindful of me, hears me and has 'saved' me -- both physically and spiritually! For that pure knowledge, I am deeply humbled. So piercing was that experience that I have shared it with my son, almost yearly, since he was old enough to understand. Perhaps not in detail, which is what has caused me to decide to write about it now. I pray that he will ever be mindful that his life is precious and has important temporal meaning in the blessing of being given this time in mortality to grow and progress.
The year was 1991. The month December. The day, the 7th. It was a rainy day and my husband's car was in desperate need of new tires. The closest Costco to us then was over 30 miles away and since I was so concerned for his safety, needing to drive that distance in the rain, we decided I would follow behind him to ensure a safe arrival. My accompanying him also gave me a perfect opportunity to do some holiday shopping. Traveling with me, seated securely in his infant seat behind me, was my newborn son.
But let me go back a bit so that you might understand the significance of what happened to me that day. I had been privately very troubled by the upcoming dedication of the close to completion San Diego Temple, scheduled for April 6, 1993. My husband was currently serving as the bishop of our ward. Our stake had been counseled to prepare for the dedication by setting our personal and spiritual houses in order. I took this counsel very seriously and desired to have the promised experience if I would prepare myself.
As most in our stake had never attended a temple dedication, myself included, detailed instruction was given as to what we might expect and how we should prepare for the day. When I first heard of the Hosanna Shout and what that entailed I found myself somewhat uncomfortable with such an outward and public display of adoration for Diety. I didn't feel that I was ready, in my heart, to participate in such an open and public form of worship. It really bothered me that my pride, or lack of faith, might be a stumbling block to participating in what was said to be the highlight of a temple dedication.
As I contemplated upon this lack in my spirituality, I also found myself with serious doubt that if I were to stand before my Savior, would I feel compelled to fall on my knees and worship Him, as did the Nephites who had that sacred experience following His resurrection and much anticipated visit to the American continent. I had a very strong testimony of Jesus Christ, but for some odd reason this concerned me deeply.
On more than one occasion, I took this sincere concern to my Heavenly Father and tearfully confessed my lack of faith, in myself, that I could/would/was genuinely humble and grateful enough for the Atonement that I would be compelled to such adoration.
As I carefully drove behind my husband on that rainy December day, I was so concerned about his safety. It was an intense drive as I recall. Suddenly, without warning, my car hit a pool of water and began to spin out of control. It is amazing how much information one can assimilate in a matter of mere seconds. As my car continued to spin out of control I realized a very large motorhome was heading straight for us and I knew that without divine intervention my son and I were about to be killed.
I immediately shouted to the top of my lungs for my Heavenly Father to help me! That guttural cry came from the rawest part of my soul, utterly spontaneous, without any hesitation whatsoever. I was calling on the only person that I knew, without a doubt, who would hear my desperate plea and rescue me in my dire circumstance.
As my car finally came to a stop in the fast lane, heading right into oncoming traffic, I readily realized that there was nothing that the driver of the oncoming motorhome could do to prevent the inevitable. Any attempt to swerve to try and go around me would have likely caused the motorhome to flip or go off the side of the road -- at the very least. I had a full understanding that my life was about to end.
As in the blink of an eye that motorhome continued on its way and I was left in shock that I was still sitting there, alive, physically unscathed, with no other cars around me. I quickly pulled myself together, turned my car around and drove just a bit further down the road to where my husband, also in shock, had helplessly pulled over.
Needless to say, I was completely shaken up while at the same time could not deny that divine intervention had just occurred. Something had happened, so not of this world, that I was compelled to the deepest humility and gratitude that I have ever experienced. I was also given to know instantly that I could, from the top of my lungs, shout HOSANNA TO THE HIGHEST and fall on my knees before my God!
For days and weeks following that experience, I wept at every thought of the love my Heavenly Father has for me and His tender mercy in allowing me to know this for myself with such assurance. I wept for His kindness in protecting me and my son because, I truly believe, I invited Him to do so. I wept for joy to find out that my simple faith that God is real was and is sufficient to bring about miracles.
Even as I sit here now, recalling that day so very long ago, the experience is still vivid. What a gift! I doubt that I have related this story sufficiently but I felt compelled to finally, after all these years, write it down and share it, today, December 7, 2012.
At times, I have reflected on why December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day? I have come to understand that by remembering the great sacrifice of others, I am immediately drawn to a remembrance of the reality of my Father in Heaven and His tender mercies to help me know Him: that He is real and that truly His Son, Jesus Christ, sacrificed everything for me so that I can return to His presence.
I know God lives. I know He loves me. And I look forward to that day of all Days, when I shall be brought to stand before Him and I will fall on my knees in reverence and awe of His great love for me.
¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
On the day the San Diego Temple was dedicated, I stood on the stairs in the Celestial room as part of the dedicatory choir. I will never, for as long as I live, forget what it felt like to participate in that sacred offering: the Hosanna Shout. I took a moment to look down at President Hinckley and noted that he was looking up as if he saw that which I did not but truly, with power, felt literally His Presence.
Photo Credit: US Navy
Photo Credit: US Navy