Sunday, January 13, 2013

fear & courage

Mirrors in the dark scare me.

When I was a little girl, probably 8 or 9, I slept over at a friend's house. Like all of my close friends tended to be, she was the adventurous sort, and thought it would be fun to try summoning a spirit. So we snuck into the master bath while her parents were sleeping. We stood in front of the big mirror, with the door open behind us for a quick getaway. "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary," we chanted, staring into the mirror and squeezing each other's hands. Aislynn chickened out first and ran away, leaving me staring into the mirror in the darkness. Something moved, and I ran out. To this day, I get a shivery feeling down my spine, so when I get up at night to use the bathroom, I always turn the light on, brightness be darned.

Heights scare me.

I can remember sneaking out of my house as a 6-year-old while my mother was napping. The neighborhood was quiet, and I was still in my Minnie Mouse nightgown. Two houses down, I climbed on top of one of those nondescript metal boxes that have something to do with the power company. Looking down, I thought about jumping, but instead, I sat down and slithered off the side and went home. Even through college, I hated climbing to the third floor of my apartment complex, with its exposed stairwell. It wasn't until two years ago that I figured out it wasn't so much hitting the bottom that scared me, but all the nothing in between.

Being imperfect scares me - probably scares me more than anything else.

I remember a time when a former friend unexpectedly and unabashedly called me all sorts of mean things. While the most lasting hurt came from the ferocity of her critique, at the time I mostly grieved that she might be right, that what she said about me might be true. Chris can attest to how deeply that worried me, since he was the one to hold me while I finally cried about it. He's always reminding me, one way or another, to have hope and see who I am holistically.

Today at church, we briefly discussed how the Holy Spirit influences us to value the things that matter most. My thoughts went immediately to my very messy apartment, and the harried feeling I got every time I look at it. It doesn't particularly bother me when it's messy, but I do worry about what it says about me that my home is in such a state of decline, and what other people might think. After that short comment in Relief Society, I told myself once and for all that the only reason it was messy this week was that I'd been working so hard to find a new apartment for Chris and I in the fall, and that was that. No blame, no guilt, no anxiety or fear.

And that is the power that the Atonement has in our lives. Yes, we are meant to become perfect, and yes, we have a lot of work to put in until we get there. Rather than wanting to give up, though, swallowed up in fear and impatience and the exhaustion that corresponds with both, we can turn to the Savior. Jesus Christ is perpetually ready to comfort and strengthen us in our efforts to be like Him.

Look to me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. D&C 6:36

Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9


  1. LOL!!! I think it must be part of girlhood initiation to be forever scarred by the dumb "Mary, Bloody Mary" thing! ...And it took me several years of marriage before I could pee at night without turning on the light. ;)

    Also, I'm amazed/impressed that you snuck out of the house at age 6. That never even would have occurred to me!

  2. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! It's just *creepy*.

    I think I found a pair of rollerskates and wanted to try them outside? But it occurred to me that it might be dangerous since I was managing the tile so poorly? So I went outside without them? Something like that - it was a long time ago!

  3. I love this post, Sara! Beautifully written.