Guideposts Classics: Beverly Garland on Faith Conquering Fear

In this story from August 1989, actress Beverly Garland shares a quote that taught her the importance of faith and self-assurance.

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Actress Beverly Garland

When I was a child my father taught me five words that I’ve used all my life—in my acting career, as a mother, in my business activities. If I complained that I was afraid of the dark, or if I seemed worried about meeting new people, Dad would say, “Stand porter to your mind.”

Nowadays this phrase might seem old-fashioned, but it still makes sense. A porter is a gatekeeper, someone who stands at a door letting people in or out. Dad would get me to picture myself stopping destructive things—such as fear—at the door, but saying “Come in” to faith and love and self-assurance.

As an actress, before I went on camera, I’d make sure anxiety stayed out and confidence in my ability came in. And as a mother, when I was anxious about my children, I would try not to let worry in but would fill my mind with trust—in them and in God.

Of course, there were always times I’d forget those words.

I remember one time in particular. In 1972 my husband, Fillmore Crank, and I opened the doors to our own hotel, the Beverly Garland in North Hollywood. This was a new business venture for us, and it was a lot more complicated and personally demanding than we, in our naiveté, had figured.

We were on call 24 hours a day. Something was always going wrong. Plumbing got clogged, electricity went on the blink, food wasn’t delivered, employees called in sick. Once, a flu epidemic suddenly left us with no maids. Fillmore gave me a choice: Scrub floors or do the laundry. For 10 days I folded enough king-size sheets and pillow cases to blanket the whole state of California.

Then there was the energy crisis. The price of gasoline doubled, and tourism in California dropped. How could we fill our beds? What if we kept losing money? What if the hotel didn’t catch on? What if we failed? Here I was at the front desk of a seven-story, 262-room hotel, and those old uninvited guests, fear and worry, were sneaking in. But I caught them just in time. I stood porter.

I stood in the door of my mind and sent fear packing. The Bible tells us, “Perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18). That’s how to stand porter.

These days at the hotel (which is thriving, I am happy to say), whenever fear tries to register, I just smile and point to the sign that reads No Vacancy.

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