Betty White and Me

I heard on NPR radio that today is Betty White’s 92nd birthday. Betty and I starred in a musical together many, many years ago, when I was just a kid. Well, it would be more accurate to say that she  was the star, but I had a pretty good role too.

I played Betty’s son in “Take Me Along,” a musical you’ve probably never heard of. We got to sing and dance together in front of thousands of people.

There are two lessons I learned from my experiences with Betty—who is a really nice person, by the way.

First, I learned that fear is a normal part of life, and sometimes we need to jump into our role and do things despite our fears. Before Betty and I took the stage the first night, she asked, “Jimmy, are you feeling afraid at all?”

“Yeah, I sure am!” I replied.

“Well, I am too,” Betty told me with a wink. “But I’ve found that when I confront my fears, they always go away after I get started.”

Her words were very reassuring, and I’ve never forgotten them. It was okay to feel a little nervous before singing and dancing in front of thousands of people. Even Betty White was a little afraid. But she knew the fears would surely pass.

What about you? Are your fears causing you to procrastinate about “taking the stage” in a new phase of your life? If so, it’s time to cast your fears aside and “do it afraid”—because the curtain is about to open!

The second lesson about Betty is that I never realized how successful and famous she would ultimately become. Wouldn’t it have been great if I had the foresight to stay in touch with her all these years?

I hope you will take this lesson to heart today. You may be rubbing shoulders with someone destined for greatness, so the best policy to value and honor everyone  you encounter today. You may even want to get their phone number in case they become a celebrity one day!

In Genesis 40 we read about the king’s butler and baker who shared a prison cell with a young Hebrew man named Joseph. Who could have imagined that one day he would be the most powerful man in Egypt?

The moral of the story is that we should treat everyone as if they are destined for greatness—for in God’s eyes, they are.


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