Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good gifts

Sunday night, I got sick from not eating. My roommate lovingly made me mashed potatoes, which I promptly threw up.

However unavoidable, this was very impolite.

Why trouble you with the former contents of my stomach, though? Well, because it reminds me of a larger story about a similar, but less grotesque, story.

When I was working as a mentor to freshman students, I took one of my students to an exhibit in the campus art museum. The exhibit, titled "Types and Shadows: Imitations of Divinity," showcased images that spoke of Christ and the Atonement using symbols and visual parables.

Being the upperclassman that I was, I felt comfortable admitting to my freshman companion that I just didn't get this one painting. This painting, "Cat Gift," shows a man trying to offer a bit of something to a cat which has turned its back.

My student understood it immediately though. "It's like the Savior, who tries to offer us such great gifts," she told me, "but we are like cats who stubbornly refuse."

I don't know how I missed the meaning before. Maybe because I am cat-like—stubborn, headstrong, and a little unaware. My sense of smell is a bit off these days, unable to draw unto the feast the Savior often places at my feet. I think often of this scripture I know to be true.
 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:9-12
God gives us good gifts; we must take them.

You can see two versions of the "Cat Gift" painting by Brain Kershisnik here and here.

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