what is a squiggle?

According to fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Hill, a squiggle is a beginning point, a small, wiggly line on a page with the potential to become something more--a brilliantly drawn fifth-grade picture!

A beginning point. A silly phrase from my preschooler, my teenager rolling his eyes, or my kindergartner deleting my entire 3rd chapter...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fictional Story: Alma 8:15-16

Alma trudged down the dusty path leading out of Ammonihah toward the city of Aaron. His shoulders slumped forward, and he kept his gaze down on his sandals. He stopped only briefly, at a small stream to wash the spit from his face and the dirt from the scrapes he'd sustained when the three men tossed him out of the city. Although the revilings, mocking and spitting had been difficult to bear, they were not the cause of his rejection. Alma understood the torment that came when you rejected the truth as the people of Ammonihah had done.

As a youth, he and his friends had rejected the teachings of the prophets, had journeyed through the land convincing others that the traditions of their fathers were foolish. In his pride and arrogance, he had looked down with pity upon his father, the prophet of Christ's church, trapped in his limiting beliefs. Until the angel appeared to him and those that were with him. Alma then felt the fear of God; he trembled and shook as the angel chided him for his actions, and his anguish eventually overcame him as the angel commanded him to cease his work of destruction or he would be destroyed.

Alma ran his hand through his hair as the memory of the three days that followed the angel's visit played through his mind. I was tormented with the pains of hell, with the realization of all of my sins. I knew that I had willfully rebelled against God. But no matter the bitterness of my anguish, what sweet peace filled my soul when I finally called out to Jesus and accepted that He and only He had the power to save me, and that he offered me a way to return through repentance. The people of Ammonihah will never know such joy because they have rejected the prophets, rejected Christ and his atonement.

As he walked, Alma became aware of a light descending from the sky, brilliant and beautiful, shining above the brightness of the daylight that surrounded him. A being emerged from the light, and the brilliance gathered around him. He smiled at Alma

"Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou has great cause to rejoice; for thou has been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold I am he that delivered it unto you."

Alma felt the Spirit of God pour through his body. It tingled through his limbs and lifted his burden of sorrow. Heavenly Father has accepted my offering of service; He considers me faithful! He has sent the same angel who once threatened my destruction to confirm his acceptance of my actions. In that moment, Alma felt he could fly. The angel confirmed that the Lord knew of his sufferings, and reminded him that he still had many reasons to rejoice.

Then the angel continued his message. "And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the lord God will destroy them. For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people."

The message was similar to the one Alma had received from the angel in his youth--repent or be destroyed. His message delivered, the angel ascended again into the sky and the brilliant light vanished away. Alma pivoted and hurried back toward Ammonihah. The angel's promise of destruction if I did not mend my actions lead to my conversion, to my conviction of the reality of Jesus Christ. Now I must deliver the same message and perhaps help rescue a few lost souls from the pains of hell.

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