Two days before I met President Uchtdorf I got my eyebrows waxed for the first time.
Seven years ago the Lord called my parents to be mission presidents in Taiwan. I ugly cried when I found this out. I knew I would be having another child during the time they’d be gone, and I could not imagine giving birth without the support of my mother. I wanted to support my parents–but I knew their absence would be very hard.
President Uchtdorf set my parents apart. The Church allowed me and my siblings to attend the setting apart, along with our spouses and children eight years of age and older. I stressed about meeting him.
“They’re just people,” my sister pointed out. “It’s a big deal but not as big a deal as you’re making it into.”
She was right. She is pretty much always right. But I am by nature anxious. I fretted about what I would wear, if my hair would style itself right that day, if my armpits would be too sweaty, if I would blurt out something stupid.
And also, I stressed about my eyebrows.
To Wax or Not to Wax?
I’d been reading Hildie’s blog posts about eyebrows, and like most beauty-related things, I felt self-conscious and defensive. Self-conscious because apparently shapely brows are super important, and mine were not, and defensive because, you know. Intimidating beauty-related stuff that I didn’t even realize was a thing till multiple people pointed it out, because as with so many other aspects of my life, I just didn’t pay attention. I began to look around me and notice that in any given gathering of women, mine would be the only formless brows, the only ones not arched in a perfect, elegant, planned way. How could I enter the presence of President Uchtdorf with such unsightly hairiness?
“I’m going to get my eyebrows waxed,” I told my husband. “Before we meet President Uchtdorf.”
“I don’t really think you need to,” he said. “I think they look fine.” (It’s good that he thinks they look fine, because I have not kept up with eyebrow maintenance since that day. Don’t judge.)
“I’ve really been noticing eyebrows,” I said. “I just want to get them done.”
“You look fine,” he repeated. “But if you want to, go ahead.”
So I did. (He detailed the car we drove up there, polishing it till it shone, even though we were going to leave it in the parking lot and it would not even be near President Uchtdorf at any time. Unless he went to the parking lot. Where presumably other General Authorities park. So I guess it was a good call after all.)
Does it sound stupid? Of course it does. I knew it was stupid then. Nevertheless, I made an appointment two days before the setting apart to get my eyebrows waxed (and heck, my whole face. Farewell random chin hairs! Adieu blonde mustache!).
It hurt. I woke up the next morning a little panicky because my entire eyebrow area had swelled up, but it calmed down in time. My husband and nine-year-old son and I drove up together and we listened to his chatter about what it would be like to meet President Uchtdorf. 9-year-old’s obsession with all things electronic and technical began almost in infancy (and continues unabated). “What kind of technology do they use?” he asked. “I wonder what it will be like? Do they videoconference? How does it work?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “But I don’t think we’ll have a chance to ask many questions. We’re just there to listen. And be very, very quiet.”
An Inspired Technology Tour
We parked in the reserved underground parking. I felt a sense of spirit-filled anticipation. Oddly, the waxed eyebrows did make me feel more confident. I had made an effort to look better than I usually did.
We met with President Uchtdorf in the room where the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve meet. We tried to figure out who was sitting in which Apostle’s chair. I don’t remember a lot about the setting apart blessing itself, but I recall these two things: he spent quite a few minutes telling us about the technology setup in the room. I felt a bit impatient, wondering why he didn’t just get on with the blessing, when the Spirit told me, “This is what your son wanted to know about, so he’s telling you.”
It’s Not About the Eyebrows
And also, when I shook President Uchtdorf’s hand, I remember feeling strongly he did not care about my eyebrows or anyone’s eyebrows, or whether people said something foolish, or were sweaty or awkward. My efforts were for my own peace of mind. I felt comfortable in his presence not because I had taken extra care with my appearance, but because I supported my parents in their call to serve. I softened my heart towards the calling and towards those who called them, and therefore my confidence waxed strong.
President Uchtdorf thanked me and my siblings for supporting our parents. He made us feel honored and special. He was a prophet of God and he treated us all with warmth and Christlike love.
This is what I think of when I listen to President Uchtdorf’s wise, kind, powerful words: having my confidence wax strong in the presence of God has much more to do with the state of my heart than the state of my eyebrows.
(But if I ever meet him again, I plan to get my eyebrows done. Just to be sure.)