Sunday, July 3, 2016

A hypothetical conversation: Nephi and Mrs. Nephi

Father Lehi died and his older sons, Laman and Lemuel, are (again) ticked that their youngest brother, Nephi, has taken the leadership. They are (again) trying to kill him, and in 2nd Nephi 5:5, the Lord warns Nephi to flee. Again. So I'm envisioning the following imaginary conversation between Nephi and his wife that takes place in between verse 5 and verse 6 when they actually leave town.

N: I don't know why, but it just seems so much harder to leave this time. I mean, we've both done this before. I even enjoyed it! It was a great adventure. We fled from Jerusalem. We wandered in the desert for eight years living in tents. We've done this before. We got the t-shirt. ... So why am I having these nightmares night after night about this trip - about when the bow broke or when we were hungry or tied to the mast... We survived those and grew from it, but this time it just seems so much harder to leave, even though I know I will enjoy it there.

MN: I know, right? Last time, we saw the hand of the Lord clearly. We knew exactly that leaving Jerusalem was what God wanted us to do. I ate sweet, raw meat for eight years while pregnant...

N: Without complaining about it once. It wasn't until we got to the land of Bountiful that you really let me know how hard it was for you.

MN: And I know this time it ought to be easier. We're wandering in a jungle, not a desert so there should be plenty of food everywhere. Granted, we have more kids now than we did then, but the kids are older this time, so that ought to make things easier.

N: Every time I pray for help with this, I seem to get understanding instead of the help I asked for. Not that I don't see His hand in this - things are just lining up perfectly for us to go and the preparations are right there ... but somehow it's just so much harder this time.

MN: Y'know what I wonder? I wonder if this is part of us growing. Last time, Lehi was the one doing all the preparations. Sure, you helped and all, but Lehi was the one responsible for it. You did whatever he told you to and it was easier to see God's hand guiding him. Maybe this time the point isn't just to see His hand, but to become something better ourselves.

N: Who knows but what this isn't the new normal? Put down roots for a few years, build a house, and just when the farm is going strong we flee into yet another wilderness whenever someone in the family decides they want to take over.

MN: If it is, it's all the more important we grow into being able to do this ourselves.

N: There's something else. The Lord told me to take with us those who would listen. I know Sam and his family are good to go, and Zoram has been a trusted friend for years. But what about our sister, son-of-Ishmael-#2's wife? She comes to church regularly even if her husband doesn't. Is it even fair of me to ask her and those of her kids that are righteous to leave him and some of her kids to go into who knows where?

MN: What about our son?

N: What about him?

MN: Ben has been rebelling for years. You know he thinks his uncle Laman is much cooler than you. Will he choose to go with us?

N: ... Probably not. And if he wouldn't go, can we tell him we're leaving? He would tell Laman in a heartbeat and we'd have to flee right away without doing all the preparation we need to. But how do we up and leave in the middle of the night and not bring our son?

MN: And what about our daughter? If we tell her that her beloved brother isn't going, and ask her not to tell him that she is leaving into the wilderness and may never see him again, that's going to break her heart.