The usual feeling of ecstasy passed through me as the dangling chair steadily climbed upward over the dazzling whiteness of snow and the green velvet border of trees. The sun’s rays filtered through the pines, leaving a patchwork of shadows upon the snow.
Always at this moment of awed captivity I would remember the great Being who had created this wonderland. This time I suddenly realized that in all my haste I had forgotten my usual morning prayer. Seeing the unloading dock not far ahead, I shrugged, thinking that just this once it wouldn’t matter but just in case it did, I’d say an extra-long prayer that night. Having consoled my conscience, I put my thoughts to the task at hand, which was skiing!
The day passed as quickly as a dream. Much more rapidly than I’d expected, the lifts were shut down. My heart was heavy, for I didn’t want the day to end.
By the time we reached the car, the sun had sunk behind the distant peaks, leaving pinks and oranges sketched upon the sky. Sighing, I hopped into the car and realized how taxing the day had been. My breath slowed and my eyelids became heavy. Leaning on my parka, I dozed off.
Slowly and irritatingly I was awakened by my friend’s voice repeating over and over, “Go ahead. I can see. You’re still okay.” I tried to burrow deeper into the folds of my coat. Her voice continued to grate on my nerves until finally, out of curiosity, I sat up and gazed out the window.
There, totally encircling us, was a blinding sheet of snow. The falling fury of white upon the windshield made vision nearly impossible. Putting my hand to my mouth, I tried to recapture the gasp that had inevitably escaped. I wished I could once again bury my head in my coat and pretend I had never awakened to the blinding storm that raged around us. Being unable to do anything but clutch the seat in front of me, however, I stared forward, squinting equally as hard as the rest to catch even a glimpse of the dotted line or perhaps a shining road deflector.
The full effect of our dangerous situation hit me as the driver suddenly shouted, “I can’t see. I can’t see a thing!” She slowed to a complete stop.
Not wanting her just to stop in the line of traffic, we suggested that she pull off to the side. Near tears, she shook her head and explained that she was afraid that if we went too far to the side, we could roll to our death off the high, twisting mountain road. It was impossible to see where the side of the road was. I envisioned the road as it had been earlier in the day. I recalled the hundreds of feet of sheer dropoff, and, as if we had all had the same thought, we lowered our heads in prayer. The words were short and shaky, pleading and humbled words.
We raised our heads, startled by the loud blast of an 18-wheeler’s horn behind us. The light the 18-wheeler contributed made it possible for us to inch closer to the edge of the road as the trucker slowly crept past our vehicle. We held our breath, half expecting him to crunch into our side and topple us into the canyon below. But he passed us safely, together with a few other vehicles close behind him. Figuring this was our chance, we joined in the procession. The ten-mile-an-hour pace was tedious, yet we would have welcomed a much slower pace. It was still virtually impossible to see anything but blinking hazard lights and blinding snow. Nevertheless, we kept to the pace the trucker set. He seemed to know what he was doing, and slowly we relaxed as our trust in him grew. It seemed natural to think of him as our leader and protector, and security and peace grew in our hearts as we followed him. Once again we began to talk and sing.
Suddenly we awakened to the fact that in all our confidence and new assurance, we had somehow let the small convoy out of our sight. We didn’t know how far ahead of us they were because vision was impossible beyond a few yards. A sick feeling rose in the pit of our stomachs as we realized we could never navigate on our own the narrow way we followed.
Once again we stopped to offer another humble and sincere prayer. A kind and merciful Father heard us, for in a few minutes the storm broke just enough for us to see an occasional reflector and finally the welcome string of lights ahead. We all broke into relieved and excited laughter.
Up ahead we could dimly see the 18-wheeler faithfully leading the way. We rejoiced. This time we followed much more attentively. We kept to the trucker’s pace and submitted to his expert guidance. After nearly six hours of this tedious activity, we simultaneously shouted our relief at seeing our small country town. We flashed our car lights and honked our horn to show our appreciation to the trucker who had led us down the mountain in safety.
Arriving home, we offered a prayer of thanks. Although our prayer was still very humble, the pleading was gone. In its place was a deep reverence and gratitude to our Father in Heaven. I was ashamed that I had considered my day’s activities more important than a few moments for prayer.
I could see clearly that the truck driver in some ways symbolized the role that the Savior should have in our lives. If we will only follow Christ’s example, he will lead us through the most dangerous storm and fill us with peace and reassurance. But if in moments of confidence and pride we fall behind and lose sight of his guiding direction, we will be left to battle on alone in fear and uncertainty. If we do not humble ourselves to find him again, the results could be disastrous. With our vision blinded, we could fall into depths that might seem nearly impossible to recover from. But always, no matter how far we might fall, if we will repent and search for him with diligence and real intent of heart, we will find him ready to grasp our hand and continue guiding us to our destination. And how joyful a reunion it will be when we pull through the storm safely and reach our celestial home where our Father in Heaven awaits us.