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, October 7, 2011

Scripture Squiggle: Jonah 3:10-4:1

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

As a young wife and mother living in a small town of strangers, I spent a lot of my time at my in-law's house. My mother-in-law let me use her washing machine, and then I would take the wet clothes home to decorate my apartment while they dried. Laundry day back then usually amounted to about three loads, so we had plenty of time to talk. Pat, my mother-in-law's next door neighbor, was often one of our topics.

Pat's husband Tony worked with my father-in-law. A sweet, quiet man, Tony made friends quickly and everyone liked him. Pat was a loud-mouthed drunk, and I got the feeling nobody liked her, least of all my mother-in-law. We talked about Pat's yelling rampages that woke my in-laws up each night, the broken bottles that invariably fell out of the garbage, and how Pat had taken to coming over to my mother-in-law's house to chat.

I would commiserate with her, return home with my wet clothes (while silently thanking the Lord for giving me neighbors that kept to themselves), and share all of the stories with my husband.

We'd laugh and groan, and feel sorry for Tony. He deserved so much more in a wife. So I should have been overjoyed when I learned that Pat was going to be baptized. Somehow her chats with my mother-in-law had turned to the Church, and she had expressed interest. After a few discussions, Pat was transformed. She gave up drinking, the late night yelling stopped, and Pat became as likable as Tony.

Then why did I feel like Jonah felt when the people of Nineveh repented? Maybe it was because I had used Pat to feel better about myself. As long as she was doing bad things that I wasn't doing, I knew that I wasn't the lowest on the Lord's list.

Perhaps I was eager, as Jonah was, to see others face the consequences of disobedience. And I felt his disappointment when this known sinner turned around and repented. Instead of embracing charity and rejoicing over the rescued soul, I harbored jealousy and self-righteousness.

I, dependent on the Savior's mercy, ignored his example. He associated with sinners, rejoiced when they repented, and loved everyone.

Fortunately, I did get to know Pat. Her infectious smile and animated personality pulled me in, despite my misgivings.

Now, when I feel myself struggling with some one's repentance, I remember Pat, my Ninevehite, and I find I can more easily reach out and embrace.

1 comment:

  1. I think Jonah is to me what Pat was to you--I am so critical of him every time I read his story, when really I am more like him than I care to admit! Thanks for sharing this story. That's so awesome that Pat was able to turn her life around like that.