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My 12-year-old daughter was about to go onstage as the lead in Pollyanna. We had talked about visualization and deep breathing, getting centered and knowing that the words would come out of her mouth at the right time. I was not allowed backstage so I could only sit in the audience and wait, sending up fervent prayers for God to be with her.

The stage darkened. The audience quieted. The auditorium waited in anticipation for the play to begin. I gripped my husband’s hand and felt fear invade my body. My only hope was that she was not experiencing the same thing.

When her cue came, she strolled confidently on stage, fully in character as Aunt Polly. I breathed a sigh of relief and let go of my husband’s hand (he shook it to regain some of the feeling back after my death grip reduced the blood flow).

All was well.  The play was a huge success and we congratulated the actors on a job well done. It was not until after we had gotten home that I could ask her how she did, the moment before she went onstage.

She looked at me in surprise and said, “I chose love over fear.”

I was astonished at her insight and wisdom. It took me about two seconds to realize that I had the same choice, sitting in the audience waiting for the play to start.

And I had chosen fear.

Fortunately, my daughter made a different choice. She portrayed Aunt Polly’s transformation from stern and unhappy to joyful and loving, with sincerity and finesse. The “glad game” that Pollyanna practiced in every situation (find the good in any circumstance and be glad) was a gentle reminder to always see the positive instead of the negative. Or to put it another way, to choose love over fear.

My lesson was a wake-up call. I had a choice and I chose the one that was guaranteed to make me feel small, afraid and frightened. I have learned from that night to watch my thoughts and feelings and to see the expansion that can only come when I chose love.

Love truly conquers all.

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