Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Alma, the Younger

Alma was a man who lived on the American continent way back before Christ.  His ancestors had migrated there from Israel.  He started out a rebel.  He was a powerful Cause but he used his talents to persuade people to hate the Paradoxical ways of his father (also called Alma).  He taught them that they should give into their chocolate cake desires and gave into his own.  He really did a lot of damage to people because of his powerful ability to convince.  A strength used to promote weakness.   

Then one day he had a spiritual/near death experience.  He saw an angel who basically warned him that if he didn’t change his course he would end up in a destination he wouldn’t like.  This experience literally knocked him out.  But during his days of physical unconsciousness he was conscious inside his mind.  Whatever he was privileged to see and feel caused him to do a 180.  The contrast between what he then understood and the Survival behavior he had been engaged in for many years caused him to experience the most extreme sorrow he had ever experienced before.  He could hardly bear it and soon began to look for a way out.  He remembered his father’s Cause—Jesus Christ.  His father had taught him that he was a Savior.  So his soul reached up to him and begged for help, for some kind of relief from this torture he was in.  And this is what Alma described as happening:

“My soul hath been aredeemed from the gall of bitterness and bbonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was cracked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is dpained no more” (The Book of Mormon:  Mosiah27:29).

Maybe the reason I admire him so much is because I have felt the depth of sorrow he describes; I would describe it in the same way.  But my 180 was a more gradual turn in time.  It wasn’t so all-at-once intense.  Yet I have felt it.  I have gone through it.  And I am snatched like he was; my soul is pained no more.  A lot of people call that being Saved.  And I agree.  Definitely saved.  But for me Saving is also an incremental Process.  I have found that it comes in degrees and by experiences. 

This is the culprit!
Sometimes I am saved in a specific event.  For example, we just moved to a new house.  It’s a mile away from our last one but the move was from unincorporated Arapahoe County to the City of Aurora.  We have three cats.  In the City of Aurora, cats are not allowed to walk around the neighborhood.  They call it “Cat at Large.”  And if a cat is caught doing so and brought to the animal shelter, the owner will be charged $70+ plus be ticketed and have to appear in court.  So all this I didn’t know before we moved in.  Two of our cats are male hunters.  They hunt mice, rabbits, snakes, and birds.  To keep them inside the house is to rob them of all they have to live for.  They are miserable if they can’t go out.  So of course while I’m trying to figure out a solution White One gets caught and the above consequences rain down upon my head.  And then I was miserable.  I did have a very candid talk with the animal control officer.  But he gave me a ticket anyway.  Very pertinacious fellow.

Lots of communication and pleading with my Cause to understand me and the real situation occurred.  I paid the $70+, got the animals up to date on their shots, and registered them (another requirement of the city that cost more $).  I did this with forbearance my Cause instructed.   Then I awaited the court date, continuously having to swallow down the irritation every time I thought about it.  Every time I felt that way I could sense my Cause telling me,  “Everything is going to be okay.  Trust me.”  When it finally came I was prompted to dress up in my nicest and most professional clothing.  I went in looking like that and waited my turn among others who were wearing less formal attire.  I was asked by some court official if I was someone’s lawyer.  I said, “No, my cat was caught walking around outside so I’m here to pay the ticket.”  When it came my turn I was prepared to pay whatever they asked me without a fight.  I objectively told them the truth of the situation but that was it.  I knew that my Cause would take care of me and whatever unfair losses I sustained.   

The woman I spoke to was extremely reasonable.  She said looking at the sums of money I had already paid, “It looks like you’ve paid enough here.  And you’ve done everything you were supposed to—shots, getting them registered.  I’m going to dismiss this case.”  It took me a minute to understand that she meant I was free to go without having to pay anything else!  I thanked her from my heart and departed.  As I walked out of the courthouse I just looked at my Cause in my mind’s eye and shook my head, my heart about ready to burst with gratitude.  He never ceases to amaze me.  He never ceases to Save me.

So sometimes I’m saved in an event.  Other times I’m saved from a particular bad habit or trap that I work on overcoming in combination with my Cause over an extended period of time.  And that is growth.  I don’t want to stop being Saved.  I need to keep going until I have arrived at my final destination.  Stopping from being Saved too soon is like Summarizing too soon.

Steadfast and Immovable
After Alma was Saved he traveled around continuously trying to repair the damage he had done to the people.  A lot of people didn’t like that so they persecuted him both physically and mentally.  And this is what I admire the most about Alma.  He just keeps going.  He never turns back to Survival living even though a lot of people don’t like him.  He is steadfast, unshakable, tenacious!

And his story goes on to include years and years of service to God.  Many of his experiences are with people who are up in his face railing on him for what he’s trying to teach them.  And all the time he’s actually trying to Save them as he was Saved.  But he still doesn’t stop!  If there ever was a man like Alma, man, he is amazing!  

I like to sing this song ("She's So High") in my kitchen to men like Martin Luther, Alma, and the next three that are coming up.  I switch the lyrics to the following:
 He’s blood, flesh and bone
No touch of silicone
He’s touch, smell, sight, taste and sound

But somehow I can’t believe
That anything should happen (Saved!)
I know where I belong
And nothing’s gonna happen

‘Cause he’s so high….
High above me, he’s so lovely
He’s so high…
Like Martin Luther, Jesus Christ, or Alma and Joseph
He’s so high…
High above me

First class and fancy free
He’s my society
He’s got the best of everything!

What could a girl like me
Ever really offer?
He’s perfect as he can be
Why should I even bother?

(Repeat Chorus)

He comes to speak to me
I freeze immediately
‘Cause what he says sounds so real

'Cause somehow I can believe
That something should happen
I know where I belong
And something’s gonna happen
Yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah

‘Cause he’s so high…