by Kari Diane Pike
Today, I am pretending to be a writer. Monday, I was a brilliant writer. Tuesday and Wednesday shot me down. The only thing that kept me from shredding all my paper and completely quitting was knowing I had a commitment to post this blog today. No way was I going back on my word to Marsha. Then I remembered a doctor appointment I made two weeks ago and that I had company arriving this afternoon and I hadn't touched the bathrooms in over a week
I do have one thing going for me. I write events on three different calendars to reduce the risk of me forgetting. I had to walk past the wall calendar in the kitchen to get to the pan of nearly evaporated water I forgot on the stove. The big purple letters "BLOG" caught my attention. Don't worry though. I took the pan off the stove (and turned the stove off) before I headed back upstairs to write. Or at least pretend to write.
One of the assignments given to me to complete my bachelor's degree involved reflecting on how my BYU experience helped me grow spiritually and intellectually. How did the courses I take help me increase my ability to learn and serve? This process brought up a lot of old memories. I remember feeling very confident as a young child.I did well in school. I participated in extracurricular activities and loved trying new things. I wanted to be a veterinarian. I think I was ten years old when I caught a stray horse I found wandering down the street, took it home and asked if I could keep it.
Then I became a child of divorce and experienced Mrs. Coe's eighth grade math class.
The math was all review, but the state, the city, the climate, the school and the people were all new to me. I admit, I was prideful and probably annoyed the heck out of the teacher. I did say I was confident. When we moved from Montana to Arizona, I left a junior high algebra class learning how to solve three equations with three unknowns and graph them and entered an elementary school setting and a math class that had just been introduced to negative numbers on the number line. Anyway, in my haste to answer a question, I forgot a negative sign and gave the wrong answer. The teacher looked down her nose at me and scoffed.
"Wrong!" She called on another student, the problem was solved and the class moved on. A couple of minutes later, the teacher asked another question. I was the only one to raise my hand with an answer. The teacher ignored me and asked the class two or three more times for the solution. She gave a heavy sigh before she finally spoke to me. " Miss Newcomb, I'm only going to call on you if you are sure you have the right answer. You're supposed to be so smart and know so much - so you better be right." Total and complete humiliation. I will never forget it. I felt like the foolish man whose sandy foundation washed away, leaving me in a deep, dark hole. I secretly hoped that the sand would bury me so that I couldn't feel the eyes of my classmates staring at me or hear their snickering.
High school was, well, high school. I did a lot of growing up and healing. I graduated and attended BYU, met my eternal companion, raised a family (decided to major in two-legged critters, instead of four) and have lived a life filled with incredible learning experiences. My BYU studies enlarged my intellect and enlightened my spiritual understanding. Many more growing experiences have come through ANWA. I still struggle to believe I can really write something of value, but I'm ready to step up and serve the Lord and stop being afraid of what others think. I want to tell other people how magnificent they are! I want to show my neighbors the joy in living the gospel. I want to serve my ancestors in the temple and I want to strengthen and support the family as the fundamental unit of society.
Elder Quentin L. Cook said, "We need to protect our families and be at the forefront together with all people of goodwill in doing everything we can to preserve light, hope, and morality in our communities." I can do this with my writing!
So - I'm going to let my light shine. Won't you add yours to mine so that we can shine even brighter?