Monday, August 15, 2011
Most young women look forward to turning 14 as it means they can go to their first dance. When I turned 14, I was nervous. I was nervous about what to expect, whether or not I would actually have to dance (because I have no rhythm whatsoever), who would be there, and of course what to wear.
Having never been to a dance, I wasn't sure what to wear. There wasn't the "church dress" expectation back then (all the way back in 1998) so girls were allowed to wear pants. I was so worried I would be overdressed or underdressed. There were numerous phone calls between my older friends asking;
"So what are you wearing? Are you wearing pants or skirt? Are you wearing pants cos if you wear pants you need to let me know cos I don't want to wear a skirt if you wear pants!"
I wasn't normally one who spent much time worrying about 'what to wear' but in this case, I contemplated both options and being paranoid I would be overdressed, I went with jeans and a casual green shirt. I even remember the pattern of the shirt - yuck!
I decided that if it came down to overdressed or underdressed, I would rather be underdressed.
When it came time to go to the dance, I arrived and my worst fears all came true. I can't tell you what the theme of the dance was, who was there, what music was played, or even who asked me to dance. All I remember is that within 30 seconds of arriving I wanted to leave. I was SO underdressed!!! All the other girls had skirts or dresses on and even the boys had church pants and shirts. I was underdressed compared to the boys!
I remember the horrible feeling of sticking out like a sore thumb and wishing I could just go home, and I'm sure I would have had I not been dropped off. In trying so hard to not be overdressed, I had aimed low and came out much lower than I had wanted. I didn't enjoy a single minute of that night. It was so bad that I didn't go to another dance for 6 months - I was scarred!
This experience is how I expect it will be for us when we are judged by our Heavenly Father. I know he is a loving Father and won't be casting harsh judgment and condemning us, I don't think He will need to-I think we will be doing enough of that ourselves. I know He would love us all to return and be with Him, and maybe it would seem kind of Him to look past all our transgressions and let us, but I know that if that were to happen, we would feel like I did at my first dance. We would feel so unworthy and uncomfortable being there that we wouldn't feel right staying. I think it's almost kinder to not subject us to an eternity of feeling out of place.
I don't believe in Hell in the fire and brimstone sense, but an eternity of knowing I could have done better, of knowing I could have aimed higher, an eternity feeling unworthy, of being without my family, well that is my own personal idea of Hell.
This makes me want to do and be better. To put things in perspective and set my sights high because when it comes down to it I would rather be feeling overdressed than underdressed for eternity.