When I was a boy, I loved to walk in the fields and in the meadows, to swim in the creeks and in the ponds. My father taught me to hunt and to fish.
I enjoyed the great outdoors because it gave me a chance to be with loved ones and to admire the creations of God.
One summer our family with several other families went on an outing near Wanship, Utah. We camped in tents along the wooded banks of a beautiful river that flowed through Kamas Valley.
My friends and I spent many happy, carefree hours walking through the meadows or hunting varmints. These animals were considered pests because they ate the tender shoots the livestockmen needed for their sheep to graze on.
One afternoon while we were out hunting, I was accidentally shot at close range just above my knee. When the .22 caliber slug passed through my leg, it felt like a hot poker was going into my flesh. As the blood ran down my leg, it became numb. My hunting companions helped me to our tent a short distance away, and I called to my father to show him what had happened. He and the other men bandaged my leg to control the bleeding. They helped me into our family car and Father drove me to Coalville, Utah, where the nearest doctor lived.
When we reached the doctor’s office he laid me on an examining table. He looked at my bullet wound carefully, and then explained that it must be sterilized.
When I understood how the wound was to be sterilized, I was afraid of the pain I might have and also that I would cry. I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to show my father how brave I could be. In my heart, I said a silent prayer that Heavenly Father would help me so that no matter how bad it hurt I wouldn’t cry.
The doctor took a rod, about the size used to clean a gun barrel, and threaded a piece of sterilized gauze through a hole in one end like a giant needle. As my father held my hand, I gritted my teeth, shut my eyes, and tried to hold still while the doctor took the rod and pushed it through the hole in my leg. When it came out on the other side, he changed the gauze, put fresh antiseptic on it, and pulled it back through the hole. He pushed it back and forth three times.
Heavenly Father heard my silent prayer, for the operation did not seem to hurt as much as I thought it would. I didn’t cry!
The wound healed quickly and completely. In three weeks I was back riding my horse again. Although I was active in sports in high school and college, I have never been bothered by that leg since the accident.
As problems and difficulties have come into my life since, I have tried to face them by relying more on the help of our Heavenly Father than on the comfort that comes from tears. I learned the valuable lesson that the pain of life’s problems doesn’t seem to be so great if I don’t cry about them.