Almost everyone I know has a Shirley Temple moment in his or her life. Whether it happened forcefully or unexpected, many of us have a story to tell that includes a Shirley Temple movie or song. I think that’s why most of us feel a sense of loss in her passing. My Shirley Temple moment lasted for just a little while, but the lesson I learned from it has persevered.
I performed On the Good Ship Lollipop in a church talent show to raise money for something—I can’t remember what, but I know it involved a high-school trip. Anyway, right before taking the stage, I got sick and I felt really scared. The enormous sense of fear I experienced took its toll on me and I couldn’t take it anymore.
I wanted to run and never return to my church. I thought about it, but before I could grab my purse, a friend of mine took my hand and pulled me on stage. The lights came on and I stood there in a puff-sleeve, baby-blue dress with ruffles. I had white socks with black patent-leather Mary Jane shoes on and big twisty curls in my hair. Never mind the big white bow on my head and the bright red lipstick on my lips. I stood center stage looking like a 16-year old, Mexican Shirley Temple.
The music started, I sang and my friend joined me soon after. Along with our voices, that performance proved to be a harmonious moment-in-time. I saw the amazement in the eyes of the audience, I heard the laughter that came with entertaining them and I felt incredible joy standing and singing next to my friend. Amazingly, I no longer sensed my fear.
Afterwards, we ran off stage. We couldn’t help but jump up and down for at least a good minute while squealing with delight! We did it! We had accomplished the hard and sung our hearts out. After leaving the talent show, I thought about what happened. I felt content in knowing that I didn't break my commitment. I also discovered a treasure that I continue to hold dear to this day—I need my friends.
Let’s face it, when life gets hard or we find ourselves paralyzed with feelings of inadequacy, insecurity and fear, we need our friends to take us by the hand and lead us through the difficult subplots of our lives. The remarkable stories of friendships that I’ve seen feature the central theme of God’s faithfulness and love for us. I promise, He doesn’t disappoint.
After all, God made us to go through life in community so that we could spur each other on when life gets tough. Yes, just like all movies, we have dark moments, tragedies, and surprise moments, but in the end we have the happy ending—we have each other, we have hope, and we have Jesus.
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