Pink Penguins


These silly pink shoelaces were a lifeline pulling me to safety.

I hated going without showers, eating half-cooked food, and sharing my living quarters with creepy creatures like spiders, yet there I was at girls’ camp. But the truth was I was having the time of my life.

My group was known as the Pink Ladies, and our leader gave each of us bright pink neon shoelaces as our trademark. After enduring five days of rain and cold in the great outdoors, we renamed our group the Pink Penguins.

The rain subsided just long enough to end the week with an evening testimony meeting. My testimony of Christ had been strengthened that week during evening scripture study and gospel discussions with my new friends. During the meeting I thought of my lifestyle at home. I had become friends with girls who were not living up to Church standards. My best friend, Amy, had been telling me how great smoking is and how fun I would be if only I loosened up a bit.

The Spirit had really touched me at camp, and I committed to myself to live a better life when I returned to civilization. I had never borne my testimony before, but I really wanted to this time. As I struggled to muster the courage to stand, I caught a glimpse of the feet of the girls in my group, all of them wearing their pink laces. One by one the girls’ feet carried them to the front where they bore their testimonies.

I looked down at my laces and thought of the love and unity we felt that week and realized I had a terrific support group all around me. With that I stood and headed toward the front. While bearing my testimony, the Spirit was so strong I remember thinking I never wanted to live without it again.

The following Wednesday, I turned down an invitation to a Young Women activity so I could go to the movies with Amy and a few other friends before the summer ended. When I pulled up I saw Amy and Beth standing along the brick wall outside the theater. As I began walking toward them, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Amy and Beth were smoking!

After a few moments of trying to hide my discomfort, Amy leaned toward me and whispered, “Just do what I do, and Beth won’t know you’ve never smoked before.” She handed me a cigarette. My hands were shaking so badly I dropped the lighter as she handed it to me. Reaching down to pick it up, I caught a glimpse of my pink neon shoelaces. I remembered the Pink Penguins. I remembered seeing those laces help carry me to share my testimony. This time was different. Those laces carried me across the parking lot to my car and straight to the Young Women activity.

That evening as I crawled into bed, I couldn’t help but notice the peace and happiness I felt. I reflected on how the evening might have turned out if I had accepted the cigarette. I knew the Spirit would have left me. My pink laces were nothing more than a symbol—a symbol that someday would grow old and wear out. I knew the joy I found would not wear out as long as I continued to keep my actions consistent with my beliefs.

[illustration] Illustrated by Greg Newbold