Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Did You Write That?

Thirteen years ago I was living in Alton, IL as a missionary for my church.  It was truly one of my favorite areas.  It had rolling hills all over town, but not like the rolling hills I was used to, these actually had houses on them.  Historic homes, steep inclines, and brick everywhere.  It sits right on the Mississippi River in all it's grandeur.

The people there, though nothing like my hometown, had some of the same endearing qualities that my hometown did.  I say hometown, but really I grew up in the country so I'll say country-side instead.  There's a difference you know.  But on with the story.

One day during church I was struck by the humility of the people there.  A farmer by origin had given one of the prayers and had thanked Heavenly Father for the rain and asked that it would bless the farmers and the crops.  Coming from "farm stock" myself it struck a chord.  I thought of the many times we had prayed as a family for rain.  And not just because it would cool things down, but it was desperately needed for our livelihood and the livelihood of those around us.

That evening it was my turn for the spiritual thought.  )A mission is quite the experience and had it's own lingo so if you would like clarification, let me know.)  I called the rest of the missionaries in my district and gave them my spiritual thought.  I can't remember word for word but it had something to do with the humility of the farmer praying for their very livelihood.  I wrote it down.  I read it over the phone and credited "Anonymous" for the source.

Everything was going well until the last call.  One of the elders asked if I had written it.  A flush came to my face and I immediately replied "No. It was Anonymous."  He said "Oh, it just sounded like you" and I said with greater insistence and a little more volume "No, Anonymous."  Goodbye!

I hung up the phone and was flustered.  It felt like he had seen me... me.  I didn't want anyone to know I had written it.  I didn't want the criticism.  I didn't want them to say "yeah, I thought you did that's why it sounded so cheesy" or "dumb" or whatever they would have surely said... right?  I didn't want him seeing inside my heart.  I didn't even dare ask him what he thought about it, good or bad.  I just wanted to hang up as quickly as possible.

Sometimes I think back on that day.  The desire to share something that had deeply touched my heart was stunted with the fear of anyone knowing that it really was from my heart.  It was easier to hide behind "Anonymous".  That way it didn't matter what anyone thought about it because no one knew who had written it. 

Would I still deny it today?

That's what sometimes goes through my head.  I have always enjoyed writing even though the  majority of my thoughts may never see the light of day let alone find someone else's eyes looking them over. 

Fear keeps me from doing a lot of things.  Fear keeps us all from doing something.  Sometimes those things don't really matter, like skydiving or rock climbing.  But other times, when it really does matter, fear can be absolutely crippling.  Fear of hugging a family member, really letting them know you care.  Fear of forgiving someone because then you might look weak.  Fear of letting things go because it's all you have known even if it's one of the worst things for you.  There is comfort in familiarity.

Today I haven't even come close to conquering all of my fears, and in all honesty I'm still not sure I'd own up to my Anonymous quote just yet.  But then again... maybe I would.

What are your fears?


  1. Well. There is a reason you can't buy my book, yet. And it isn't because I'm having trouble publishing...

    Sigh. Big fat scaredy cat. That's me.

  2. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I love reading your blog because you have a great talent for writing. When I want to write something, I frequently think, how would Lora word this! not kidding! My fears are more obvious - someone hurting my kids, my house burning down. Things like that, I don't know about anything else. I would have to dig a little deeper into who I am and I'm afraid to do that. :)

  3. Tawnya: it's always hard getting over that next hill! You know because I climb so many hills of my own... ahem. anyway, you are a marvelous writer for what it's worth.

    Heather you are amazing truly. Here's to hoping that your house doesn't burn down and no one hurts your kids!

  4. It's been interesting with this post. I read it and have still been afraid to answer it. I wonder if that's the same with everyone else that answers it.

    I'm afraid to sound stupid. I'm afraid I drive people crazy.

    I love you, Lora. You're amazing. You write VERY well. I have never known you to shy away from standing up for your beliefs (both spiritually and otherwise). I still remember a time when we sat down to a dinner and the table was talking about a commonly uncomfortable topic and you did not hesitate to be the honest truthful, thoughtful person you always are.