Trading My Fear for Love
August 2010

“Trading My Fear for Love,” Ensign, Aug. 2010, 67

Trading My Fear for Love

Ashley Johnson Evanson, Utah, USA

I saw him riding the bus every day on my way home from the university. He always wore the same baggy T-shirt, worn-out tennis shoes, and big smile. And he always sat by himself. He was a special passenger, though, because he was mentally challenged.

Every day the Spirit prompted me to say hello to him. Every day, however, my pride stopped me. I was afraid that someone might see me associating with someone different from everyone else. After all, I had a reputation to keep.

One winter afternoon, when the Spirit was especially strong and my courage was a little greater, I got on the bus, saw him in his usual spot, and sat down next to him—not too close in case I chickened out. When I was almost to my stop, I closed my eyes, said a silent prayer, and turned to him.

“Hi,” I said in an insecure but friendly voice, “I’m Ashley.”

When he smiled at me, my fear and pride immediately melted away.

“I’m Lenny,” he shyly replied.

With those few words, we began a bond of friendship.

The next day I sat next to Lenny again, but it was easier—we were friends. As I sat down, he reached into his backpack and pulled out a handmade Valentine’s Day card. It was addressed to “The pretty girl I see on the bus every day.”

Valentine’s Day was long passed, but Lenny had made this special card for me and had been patiently waiting for the opportunity to give it to me. I couldn’t keep the tears from trickling down my cheeks. How grateful I was that the Spirit hadn’t given up on me and that I had finally put aside my pride and faced my fear of talking to Lenny.

Now he comes to Sunday dinner every week and has become like another member of my family. Every day Lenny helps me remember the blessings that come from forgetting pride and having courage to do what is right. Seeing him every day reminds me of 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”