Once upon a time, I was super smart and knew everything. I pretty much ruled the world, which, in fact, revolved around me. I was obviously the most important kid in the universe, and no one could do anything about it. My kingdom, during this era of enlightenment, was Payson Junior High School. I was in 8th grade.
My co-rulers and I, who also happened to be equally as smart as I was, made it a daily occasion on our lunch break, to walk the quarter mile off campus to take our lunch at the local Dairy Queen. Now, this Dairy Queen was known throughout all the land as the most delicious, for it served the greasiest fries on the earth and the best pink sauce ever. Anyone familiar with this prize winning establishment can vouch for the authenticity of this statement. An enormous grocery bag of these things could be purchased for a mere 80 cents. But, the prize of the Dairy Queen lunch caravan wasn’t the greasy fries, it was the jumbo ice cream cone. People would travel from all around just to partake of its hugeness.
This ice cream cone only cost around 65 cents, and contained roughly 19 revolutions of ice cream carefully swirled on top of the sugar cone. It was massive. Just for kicks, because we were the collective kings of the jungle, they also placed a plastic monkey toy on top of the Everest cone as homage to our greatness. This tower of sugar, milk and deliciousness kept us coming back day, after day, after day.
You have to imagine in your mind, our group of 14 year old geniuses in those days. There was Myself, Brad, Anthony, Mark, Mo, Josh and others, after purchasing our delectable diabetes cones, would play Street Fighter on the arcade console for the 5 minutes before we had to make our trek back to reality. The distance from the school would only allow this short time to be enjoyed inside the Dairy Queen, the next 10 minutes or so would be spent trying diligently to consume the entire cone which we had just purchased. Frequently teetering on the brink of brain freezes, this was no small feat. Oft times we would fail in our attempts, and would sadly, and with much dismay, have to dispose of our remaining cone in the trash can just outside the doors of the school.
One day, Mo, one of the eldest of our company, came up with one of the best consolation prizes ever. In his experienced wisdom, he showed us that it was ok if we didn’t finish our bucket of ice cream upon our return to school. If we did have a cone left, we could, in our last moments of an enjoyable lunch, throw our remaining frozen treat projectiles “toward” the garbage can. If the ice cream and cone somehow smacked the brick wall 14 feet above the garbage can, and slowly trickled down, inch by inch, leaving a snails trail of vanilla in its wake, all the better!
Again, we were a group of very smart and brilliant kids. There is absolutely nothing wrong with 8-10 kids throwing ice cream cones in the general direction of the garbage can everyday after that right? Pretty soon, in our wisdom, we would actually purposefully eat less ice cream to save most of our cones to make a more dramatic ice cream explosion. Oh man, we had so much fun!…..for about 4 days.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Apparently,the custodians at Payson Junior High School didn’t really like scrubbing down the ice cream war zone everyday. On the 5th day of our ice cream disposal system, after the first 3 missiles were fired at the wall, the sweet little custodian lady burst out from her secret hiding place and we were busted. The worst part about this whole thing is that it wasn’t until I actually saw her, that I even realized that it probably wasn’t a good idea to chuck ice cream at a wall. Maybe I wasn’t so super smart after all?
Needless to say, myself, Mo, Brad, Anthony, and a few others were blessed with the privilege of spending a week after school washing lockers, and being servants to the sweet little custodian lady who had the last laugh. And that is where my life of crime began and ended. Sorry again Mrs. Franz.
I spent a week cleaning after school because I didn’t see the big picture. I couldn’t see past my own cheap entertainment. My own selfish desires to watch ice cream cones slowly trickle down a brick wall, took precedence over worrying about who would have to clean it up. I was blinded by my own indifference. I didn’t see the big picture.
In the Book of Mormon, Jarom, the son of Enos, was explaining the mindset of the Nephites during his time which was only about 60 years after Lehi left Jerusalem. These Nephites were supposed to be the righteous ones, they had been separated from the Lamanites, and had the scriptures, and the prophets. But, just as always, something got in the way. He says in Jarom 1:3…..
“Behold, it is expedient that much should be done among this people, because of the hardness of their hearts, and the deafness of their ears, and the blindness of their minds, and the stiffness of their necks; nevertheless, God is exceedingly merciful unto them, and has not as yet swept them off from the face of the land.”
It is our natural tendency to become complacent, to see only what we want to see, and to forget about everything that isn’t directly effecting us. We don’t pause to look at the big picture. We tend to separate, and contain God into a small 3 hour window on Sundays, and forget Him the rest of the week. We cant let this happen to us.
When we see things happening in the world around us what do we think? Do we brush it off as something that is only happening halfway across the world, or in some other country, or state? What about our own community? Do we see attitudes and behaviors that remind us of any societies in the Book of Mormon? Do we involve ourselves with any of them? We need to take the time, and open our blinded eyes, soften our hardened hearts, and start to listen with our spiritual ears. Its part of what we need to learn here in this life. Lets look at our lives through the lens of the Book of Mormon. If our people had a chapter, what would it read like?
Hopefully we can all learn from my ice cream shenanigans that we need to stop and look at ourselves, and how we are living, to see if there are any ice cream cones that we are chucking at the wall. After all, someone is always watching.