Praying With the Sirens

Ashley - Loganville, Georgia
Entered on June 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

“Ash, come on! You’re going to be late,” Mom hollered as we rushed out the door. I was decked out in my Brownies uniform, ready to get my craft-making skills on at our weekly Girl Scouts meeting. Our dark blue Toyota Previa was the newest and latest minivan, and, boy, did I feel special riding in the front seat with Mom as the driver. We turned right onto Highway 124 and I could hear ear-piercing sirens coming towards us as my Mom pulled over to the side. The ambulance quickly passed by as Mom told me something that would make this one moment last for a lifetime.

“You know, you should always pray for the people in the ambulance,” she told me.“Huh?” I gave her my typical confused look and thought about this for a minute. “Really!?” I questioned her.

My imagination ran wild as I watched the ambulance in the far distance, the noise from the sirens slowly disappearing. I was shocked and excited with the thought that my prayers could save someone’s life. This was like being a superhero almost!

That was more than 15 years ago, and I cannot think of a time when I haven’t said a prayer since then as a screaming ambulance passes by. Sometimes, if I feel compelled, I go into further detail than the usual: “Lord, please help them.” Sometimes, it goes like this: “Please help them get to the hospital safely, Lord. Help who ever is involved. Please Lord, make everything work out for the better.”

Now, you may be giving me the same crazy look that the nine year old I babysit gives me when I tell her the same thing. But I’m willing to bet that, now, she at least thinks about the person who passes her on the way to the hospital. And quite honestly, that’s good enough. What could be bad about teaching kids to think, to pray, and to love?

See, here’s the thing. Despite my childhood hopes, I did not actually turn out to be a superhero. The reality is that you have no idea where the ambulance is headed, who is in the ambulance, or if that person is already dead. But that doesn’t matter. It should be a habit, similar to holding the door open for someone at work, or picking up a pen that the stranger in front of you at the store has dropped, even if it means you’ll be waiting even longer now as they thank you, and continue writing their check. It’s a simple random act of kindness, and by doing so, you’re in essence showing love to a stranger. Love; that’s all our world needs after all, isn’t it?

I believe that we can all be superheroes, without even knowing it. And if you do choose to pray for the next ambulance you see, just promise me you won’t close your eyes! (That is, if you’re the one driving).