Saved by the Belt


Inconvenient? That depends. How badly do you want to save your eternal life?

It was too late to stop. As I crashed into the car in front of me, the splinter of glass and crumple of metal dimly registered, an echo of my own shattered breathing.

I started to cry, and my brother Rob said, “It’ll be okay, Alanna. Everything will be all right.” But everything was not all right. I had caused a four-car accident.

Minutes later, a policeman told me no one was seriously hurt. Fortunately, everyone involved was wearing seatbelts. A paramedic treated me for minor cuts, and after I complained of a sharp pain in my neck, I was put on a stretcher.

On the ride to the hospital, a paramedic said, “Alanna, you’re a very lucky girl.”

Lucky? I was strapped in a stretcher with my neck immobilized in a brace. I had totaled my dad’s car, and was responsible for the damage to three other cars. How could he say I was lucky?

“The only reason you’re still alive is because you were wearing your seatbelt,” he added.

For as long as I can remember, my parents stressed the importance of wearing seatbelts. Because of my parents’ example, I wore my seatbelt without fail. This one small act may have literally saved my life.

Every day, we perform small acts that can save our eternal lives. God has laid out a plan to ensure our return to him. The Atonement makes it possible for us to live with God once again—if we take advantage of it.

Just as my parents taught me the importance of wearing a seatbelt whenever I’m in a car, they have also taught me about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Living the gospel includes many things: attending church and seminary regularly, paying tithing, reading the scriptures, obeying the Word of Wisdom, keeping the Sabbath holy, and developing charity are a few.

Just like buckling a seatbelt, these acts are termed “inconvenient” by some. The barrage of invitations to disobey what I’ve been taught can be overwhelming. “Buy the dress now. You can pay your tithing next week.”

I have chosen to buckle my seatbelt each time I get in a car. I also have chosen to do what is right, whatever the cost, whatever the circumstances.

A seatbelt saved my life. Following gospel principles and choosing the right will save my eternal life.

[photo] Photography by Phil Shurtleff