If you have lived all your life in a bedroom in which the light switch is on the right and you move to a house in which the switch is on the left, it will take you approximately twenty-one abortive attempts of reaching to the right then choosing the left before your hand automatically reaches left. I’ve lived my life to this point always reaching to the right, making easy, scared decisions hoping that I’d connect some circuit and brighten my world, but I’m only just now realizing that the switch is on the left and in all my reaching to the right I haven’t successfully turned on a light in my life.
I think there comes a day in every person’s life when they suddenly discover that though they thought they were moving freely and maybe even beautifully, in reality their hands are tied. So they stretch and strain to look behind them to get a glimpse of the dastardly bloke who did the tying and realize that they’ve done it themselves. That day for me came last December 1st and conveniently coincided with my decision to come up with an essay to enter in the David O. McKay Essay Contest. So over the month of December, I decided to make twenty-one bold choices in order to establish a new habit of boldness.
1) December 3, 9:18 am: initiated a singing lesson.
2) December 8, 12:17 pm: took MacLab hostage
This one was a result of my goal to do my audition package for fifty new people in the week leading up to my audition for the acting program. It involved shutting 12 animation students in an open lab and making them watch and listen. (still can’t believe I did that).
3) December 9, 9:48pm: Asked for help when I needed it.
4) December 9, 10:32pm: Accepted help when it was offered.
5) December 10, 9:50am: Bore testimony in an email.
6) December 10, 2:22pm: expressed gratitude
Despite the fact that there was a distinct possibility that the recipient of said gratitude could have easily misinterpreted it as brown-nosing (I despise being thought of as that) and I need her good opinion more than almost anybody else’s.
7) December 12, 8ishpm: Went to the House Show.
I’ve been invited before and assumed it was a courtesy invite and so never attended. But the invitation said “be brave” so I thought maybe I will.”
8) December 12, 9ishpm: poured my soul into Maraca playing
Go big or go home, even if you’re not sure why you were invited in the first place.
9) December 15, 11:46pm: didn’t settle with the thought counting
My maraca playing resulted in another kind of invite and usually I’d be satisfied with the invite alone, relishing in the fact that I ever got it, but this time I followed it out until the end of gloom.
10) December 20, 1:32pm: gave in to the impulse to engage in spontaneous, joyous dancing.
11) December 20, 1:50pm: Brian Stokes Mitchell, New Words
Sometimes someone else’s performance makes me bolder just by virtue of proving to me that bold choices can be successful rather than proving to me that when you reach your hand out there it will likely be slapped away or worse lopped off.
12) December 21, 10:22am: called Dreaming Tree Films.
13) December 22, 11:38am: Said what I failed to say before.
14) December 24, 8:57pm: performed Christopher Robin is saying his prayers on unexpected command.
15) December 25, 10:54am: Explication anytime.
Boldest Christmas present I’ve ever given to anybody. Now my mother has full power to beg an explanation to things that I say to her rather than my brushing things off with a nevermind’.
16) December 25, 9:26pm: Boldness backfires.
17) December 26, 9:34am: didn’t apologize for my ideas.
18) December 27, 1:45pm: made the first move.
At this point I told my brother I only had three more bold choices to make before I was finished with bold choosing, but he correctly pointed out that actually, I had three more events in which I had a choice not to be bold before I’d switch to an audacious automatic pilot.
19) December 28, 9:24am: Participated in the Brady Bunch weightlifting session, despite feeling more than a little foolish.
20) December 31, 9:10am: pulled the “let’s not have alcohol at the party” Ensign move
Let it be known that the girl who received the email in choice number five was the first to embrace the idea of number twenty’s sober New Year’s party.
21) wrote this essay.
Newsflash; number 21 never happened. The due date came and went and in the end my 21st official bold choice never even happened. So apparently I still haven’t taken the final step to make boldness a habit. In doing this though, I realized that what classifies an action as bold isn’t whether the world thinks it was a brave thing. Instead boldness is when you look at a situation that scares you, and despite being terrified to proceed, move forward anyway.
I don’t know what, if anything intimidated Jesus Christ, but He was born of a human mother so he had fears to overcome as we all do. It was bold of him to respond humbly and yet powerfully to the Pharisees when they challenged him. It was bold of him to spend a life among the lowly and sinful, an association he knew would lose him the respect of some. It was bold of him to stand before Pilate and declare “to this end was I born.” And it was the ultimate boldness to, despite the unimaginable pain and grief he knew it would bring, perform the atonement that we might be able to boldly return to him in the end.