I have really enjoyed rereading my old journals. I can look back at the lessons I learned once-upon-a-time and I can re-learn them. I can reread about the trials I faced and how I overcame them and find renewed strength in myself. Mostly, my old journals make me laugh at myself and cringe... such as the "love entries" like I already posted. In talking to Eric about that lately, I came across another journal entry. It was about his sister, Amy. I shared the entry with him. I haven't read that entry in forever, and now upon reading it again, I think it was poignant to me, in helping to shape the way I tried to live my life as I finished high school and went off to college. I was 18 when I wrote about this. Without further adieu...
January 4, 1992
The first time I met Amy I didn't like her. She just seemed too perfect. She was a straight-A student, a well-versed scriptorian, a skilled conversationalist, extremely talented, the perfect daughter and the perfect sister. She and her brothers were the best of friends. I guess truly, it's not that I didn't like her; I realize now I was jealous. She emulated the kind of person I want to be and strive to be and yet it seemed to come all-too-easily for her.
One Tuesday night I had signed up to babysit in the nursery for the Relief Society Homemaking activity. Amy had just turned 18. She was officially in Relief Society now. It was summer and it was warm outside. The kids were getting antsy in the nursery, so I decided to take them outside and let them play in the grass. Soon, Amy came outside, oddly appearing a bit nervous. She asked me if she could hang out with me and the nursery kids. I did not expect that. I said yes. She sat down on the grass next to me and explained how she did not feel comfortable in Homemaking with all of the "older ladies". I was utterly shocked. I thought for sure that she was so mature she'd just love it there.
We sat in the grass and talked and laughed for over two hours. I suddenly saw Amy as a real down-to-earth person. The more we talked, the more I realized that while I was jealous of all of her incredible qualities, she was too humble to recognize most of them within herself. She didn't realize how close-to-perfect she actually was. I also discovered that she was shy in groups where she didn't feel like she belonged. And I tried to imagine what it would be like to move to a brand new school my last year of high school. It would be a little overwhelming. Amy admitted to feeling like she did not fit in. I immediately felt ashamed for the way I had previously misjudged her.
In that instant, the very moment in which she chose to share her personal insecurities with me I had a new respect, appreciation and love for her. I think it took a lot for her to leave the Relief Society and come join the nursery to hang out with an immature girl like me. I realized through our conversation that we weren't all that different either; and in fact she had done some quirky things too. She showed me the orange streaks on her legs where she tried to use that spray-on tan stuff. We laughed so hard over that.
She taught me more about loving and not judging others in that one evening than I had learned up to that point on my own. Shortly after that night, Amy went off to college. I never looked at her the same way again. She is a pillar of strength. Anyone who has ever met her, even if only briefly, knows at least that one thing about her. I will never forget what she did for me that night; how she gave me eyes to see.
Amy died January 2, 1992 of Lukemia.