The “voice” may have been meant for more than just little Lily Groesbeck.
It was primarily for her, of course. Even at the age of 18 months, being strapped upside down in a seat for 14 hours, only inches from the icy waters of a river coursing through the wreckage of your mother’s car must be a horrifying experience. She was, no doubt, inches from death, both literally, given the closeness of the water, and by virtue of fatigue, given her tender age, her lack of
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nourishment and her precarious position.
Time was running out, which brought urgency to the “voice.” When four police officers heard it — they described it as an adult’s voice saying, “Help me” — they doubled their efforts to turn the car over and get inside, suffering hypothermia in the process. The voice was distinct enough that officer Bryan DeWitt answered it with something to the effect of, “We’re trying! We’re trying our best to get in there,” according to the rescuers’ account to NBC news.
Lily’s mother had died in the accident. There was no adult in the car capable of calling out for help.
Miracles do find their way to news pages from time to time. Often they come in the form of something devout believers embrace and skeptics dismiss. Just one example: Years ago, Salt Lake City workers pruned a tree in Taufer Park, near 300 East and 700 South. As the stump of one branch began to heal, it formed an image from a mixture of sap and tree rings that some neighborhood Catholics recognized as Our Lady of Guadalupe, the apparition of the Virgin Mary that members of the faith believe appeared to Juan Diego near Mexico City in 1531.
The faithful flocked to the park. To her credit, the recently deceased Deedee Corradini, who was mayor at the time, overrode the concerns of staff members about violating the separation of church and state and had the city erect stairs and a wooden platform to help worshippers.
No doubt many found solace in that park. Others simply ignored it.
Skeptics likely will dismiss the “voice” as well, although it’s a little harder. Just about anything can be ignored if you don’t give it too much thought.
But few things touch hearts quite like a child in distress, and few things bring more comfort than evidence that something beyond our field of vision is looking out for that child; and if that something looks out for that child, what of us?
To the believer, all are children, and miracles have an effect beyond those who are the direct beneficiaries. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be written in scripture.
Lily’s “voice” came at a time when confusion and fear seem to be gathering like storm clouds. Religious fanatics are being recruited from our midst to join ISIS fighters in their violent, relentless and medieval purge of infidels, including executions that are filmed and made available on the Internet. Secularism and skepticism, meanwhile, have grown to the point where one researcher has calculated that almost 4 in 10 Americans are “churchless,” according to religionnews.com.
More important than foreign threats and local trends, however, people struggle daily with life’s disappointments and tragedies. Obituary pages are filled with names of surviving loved ones looking for solace and reassurance.
Spanish Fork officer Tyler Beddoes told the Deseret News what it meant to hear that “voice” outside the car. “It was a positive boost for every one of us because I think it pushed us to go harder a little longer,” he said, adding he’s sure none of the men had intended on flipping a car that day, let alone risking their lives to do it.
The “voice” was not something a lawsuit could seek to banish from the public square. It wasn’t the kind of thing a spinmeister could use to plant a flag on one side or other of the cultural divide.
It was just there — for four men to hear independently, to save little Lily Groesbeck and, perhaps, to push the rest of us “to go harder a little longer” with whatever it is we wrestle, knowing we do not wrestle alone.