May 2, 2013

This is only a test.

by Kari Diane Pike

My dad and step-mom had just driven away after a delightful month-long visit and wedding celebration. I walked into the kitchen, determined to keep a cheerful disposition despite feelings of exhaustion and "after-the-event let-down". I opened the crammed-full refrigerator and grabbed a carton of almond milk from the top shelf. Blueberry juice, from a hidden bag of crepe toppings, dripped down my arm and onto my shirt. When I lifted the package of lunch meat sitting next to the milk, more juice poured to the floor. Closer inspection revealed streaks of the purple sticky stuff running down the entire inside of the refrigerator.

Annoyed, but not dismayed, I turned to the pantry to get something to clean up the mess, only to discover bags of chips and other "side dishes" I had forgotten to serve at out family dinner two days before. Tears ran down my cheeks.  I felt so stupid. Such a little thing to send me over the edge of despair. I wanted to throw myself on the floor and scream and kick my feet. Then five little words spoke to me:

"This is only a test."

If you grew up in the 60s and 70s, you'll recognize that phrase right away. I'll bet you can even "hear" the voice. It was part of the script used by the Emergency Broadcast System. Wikipedia tells us:

"The Emergency Broadcast System was established to provide the President of the United States with an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of war, threat of war, or grave national crisis."[1] It replaced CONELRAD on August 5, 1963.[2] In later years, it was expanded for use during peacetime emergencies at the state and local levels.[1] Although the system was never used for a national emergency, it was activated more than 20,000 times between 1976 and 1996 to broadcast civil emergency messages and warnings of severe weather hazards."

All through my growing up years, a loud tone would play on the TV or radio to get the listener or viewer to pay attention and then you would hear something like this:

“This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test. If this had been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed where to tune in your area for news and official information."  

As a child, the sound of that high-pitched tone would strike fear into my heart, along with visions of mushroom clouds and world destruction -- until I heard those comforting words that assured me that I and my loved ones were not in any real danger. 

This time, I recognized the voice of the Holy Ghost as he brought me much needed comfort and peace. I also knew that if I was in any real danger, the Spirit could instruct me as well as warn me. By listening to that still, small voice I will always find peace and protection.

Life itself is a test and the Holy Ghost is my personal E.B.S. As I exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, keep my covenants, and serve with all my heart, I will be able to hear His warnings and know where to turn. 

This is a test. It is only a test --



  1. I hope entrance into the Celestial Kingdom is not predicated on my GPA. I would be in trouble! It seems I keep retaking the same tests over and over again.

    Thanks for the reminder, Kari, to let the Holy Ghost be my tutor.

  2. What a lovely and timely reminder. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Where's the "Like" button?
    Don't feel bad. I do that forgetting thing about side dishes, especially rolls (just did it tonight) and the salad ALL THE TIME!
    But I know how you feel.
    You are such a great example to me of always seeing the bright side during not-so-bright times.
    Keep up the bright work!

  4. Replies
    1. I think we are pretty close, Terri. I've had that thought before. I am 52.


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