When I give her the drawing at lunch, she studies it carefully. I can tell she likes it, but she’s partly confused.
“Why isn’t it colored in all the way?”
“I wanted the petals of the daisies to stand out… I think… I’m not really sure why. I feel like just the various shades of yellow say a lot.”
“It’s beautiful… thank you.” She smiles touching my hand. Retracting her hand she adds, “I love it,” keeping her attention on the sketch of her.
Having a muse is new to me, and I don’t know why, but being around Melody makes me want to draw. Not just her, but other things. I forgot the freedom that art brings to the soul. Fueled by a joy I can hardly grasp or explain, and my only driven desire is fixated on sketching all the ideas blooming in my mind.
I spend nearly all of lunch drawing a griffin flying through the forest with a living black smog chasing it. I’m not sure where these images come from sometimes. The ancient Greeks believed muses were actual spirits that influenced writers and artists, almost like the writers and artists were just instruments or tools for the muse spirits. Considering all the crazy tales and mythology the Greeks created, I believe one hundred percent they were influenced by demons.
“You should at least eat your apple.” Melody suggests, concerned about my level of food consumption, in particular my lack of food consumption.
“I don’t want to get apple juice on my sketch.” I say.
“Then can I have your apple?” She asks.
She’s already eaten my honey roasted, peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich, my bag of chips, my bag of carrots, and now she wants my apple? All she’s left me are my mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. Why am complaining about that? That’s awesome! Cookies for lunch…
“Sure,” I say reaching for the apple to give to her, but her zebra-decorated faux nailed fingers grasp the big, delicious red before me. Without thanking me for it, she bites into it. I snatch a cookie while there’s still one to grab, after she devours that apple she might want some junky sweet food next.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Jon Hurst plops down beside me.
“Hey I got a question for you Christian boy.”
“Jon, go away.” Melody snaps.
Jon ignores her and asks me his question, “If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why don’t you believe in prophets or the priesthood anymore?”
He’s asking because he’s curious and that’s good.
“In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.’ So he didn’t come to do away with it. He wants us to still obey the law and to respect our prophets; does the word not say so?” Jon reasons.
He makes a convincing argument, but the first thing that comes to mind is when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert. He used scripture trying to entice Jesus to bow to his corrupt will, and not to rely on God. I think I shock Jon when I tell him I agree with him, but only about Jesus fulfilling the law.
“While Jesus walked the earth, he did fulfill the law. He had to because he was a rabbi and to some he was considered a prophet, but he had to live by the law and the teachings to prove he was the Messiah, but after he died on the cross and rose again we were set free from the law and salvation was made possible for gentiles like you and me. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, but we are all children of God. The Book Galatians and Romans Chapter 8, explain it well if you don’t want to take my word for it, but God’s word for it.”
Without asking, Jon takes one of my mom’s cookies. While chewing, he says, “But Paul wrote that… Jesus didn’t say it.”
I want to say Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon and you take it as the word of God over the real thing, but I don’t say that. Instead I ask, “Is Jesus not the Word of God, who existed in the beginning, before all creation came to be?”
“But why would God change?” Jon questions.
“God hasn’t changed, but his relationship with man has… So you believe that every prophet in the church is appointed by God?”
“Yes.” Jon answers.
“Was Brigham Young considered a prophet of the LDS church?”
“Yes.” Jon answers affirmatively, very proud of the dead man.
“In Jeremiah chapter 28, the prophet Hananiah makes a prediction about Israel, and Jeremiah confronts him questioning whether that prediction came from the Lord. He basically said that a prophet of the Lord can be known when what that prophet foretells comes to pass.”
Jon and Melody continue to listen to me intently. Their eyes seem fixed on my lips instead at me as a whole. I pose this question, “Did Brigham Young not claim that the Lord told him Utah would not be accepted into the State of the Union unless polygamy was legal upon ratification?”
Neither Jon nor Melody says anything.
“Utah became a state, but polygamy was not legal.” Before I can say anything else, Jon quickly jumps to the dead man’s defense.
“He’s only human, no man is perfect. And polygamy protected women and children during that time because men kept dying from wars and quarrels with the Native Americans fighting over the land.” Jon says throwing my mother’s half eaten cookie onto the floor as he comes to his feet.
“Jonathan, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He is love, truth, and just, why would he appoint a prophet who can’t tell the difference between his own inner voice and God’s voice?” I’m astonished by the rhetorical question that I spoke from my mouth. Who else could it be but the Holy Spirit speaking on my behalf… Thank you Lord.
Jonathan walks away faster than he appeared. Ever since we had that huge debate in Geography class last year over the introduction of oxen to the Americas, he likes to come up to me and ask theological questions. At first, it made me nervous, but every time the Holy Spirit always spoke for me. Like I know for a fact I haven’t read the entire book of Jeremiah. I didn’t even know there was a prophet Hananiah. Who else could it be other than He who is in me?
Melody stares at me quietly as she eats my apple. I finish up my drawing, well, I try. Melody staring at me wigs me out. Why is she staring at me?
“What?” I huff in frustration.
Munching on apple mush, she mumbles, “Nubbing…” as she conveniently stares up at the ceiling. Swallowing a large gulp, she raises a brow, staring at the table instead of me and says, “It’s just… I just realized… you always talk about God and what He does.”
Now I’m confused… We’re supposed to testify about what God does, not to boast about how He loves us, but to Glorify Him. Doesn’t everyone who loves Him talk about God and what He does?
“Well, what has God done for you lately?” I ask, again sensing that question wasn’t all me, but more the Holy Spirit’s asking.
Melody’s gaze sinks into an expression of thinking. If you have to think about what God has done for you lately, you either have too much to testify or you have nothing. I can’t imagine what the latter is like nor do I want to.
The bell rings signifying the end of lunch. As I put the final details in the griffin’s feathers, Melody gathers our collective trash from lunch and throws it out. In gratitude for her gesture, I carry her books to class as we walk together since my next class is just down the corner from hers.
At the door to Mr. Thrall’s Government class, Melody takes her bundle of books from me. Clearing her throat keeps me standing by her, since I figure she has something to say.
“You have church tomorrow night, right?”
“Yeah,” I say.
My heart begins to pound fast. I think I know what she’s about to ask and I want to tell her of course before she even asks, but I speak in tongues mentally to stay calm.
“Can I go with you, if your parents are alright with you driving me home afterwards?” She asks.
A twinge of excitement surges through me. She actually wants to go to church with me. I didn’t ask. I haven’t ever asked her. Out of pure curiosity for herself she wants to go! If my parents say no, I may defy them. It would be worth it, just to give Melody the chance for true, freeing salvation.
“Yeah, I’ll check with them tonight.”
The bell sounds as she walks into class. Quickly, I zip around the corner into Mrs. Schuster’s for math class. Pre-cal is one of my favorite subjects, but if I ever admitted that out loud I’d be a laughing stalk. There’s something about numbers and complicated equations that soothes me and relaxes me. I’m so amped right now because of Mel’s choice to attend church with me; I could use something to bring me down to earth.