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Choices

Recently Ellie asked me about Eve's choice in the Garden of Eden. We have been reading "Girls Who Choose God" as part of our morning devotional (a picture book about women in the scriptures, that I would highly recommend), and Ellie wanted to know why God had given a commandment to Adam and Eve that he knew would likely be broken, and that also was part of the plan for their and our lives here on Earth. I was able to tell her a few things that were helpful, but continued to think about her question myself. Then, while reading "The Crucible of Doubt" on my own time, I was introduced to the idea that Eve's choice may not have been between a hard "right" and a hard "wrong," but might instead have been a "wrenching" decision between two goods. When I talked to Ellie about this, she seemed much more settled than in our previous discussion. This idea obviously spoke to her of truth, as it did to me.

Today, as the boys and I came home from school drop-off, Grant began explaining to Spencer when he could and when he could not eat snow. Meg had insisted on wearing her boots to school today and they were both sure that snowfall was imminent. Grant stuck mainly to: "if it's brown or yellow don't eat it." But as a parent, I felt that I needed to interrupt and say that "we should not eat snow ever," not only for simplicity's sake - Spencer's unlikely to debate colors - but because I, as an adult, know that snow - having traveled through our atmosphere, and landed on the ground - is very dirty even when it first arrives on Earth. As a parent, I needed to give the guidelines for actual safety, so that my boys would know that snow shouldn't become a staple of their winter diet. Still, despite my insistence that "we don't eat snow," in my heart I absolutely knew that both of these children would eat snow at the first available opportunity. I also knew, interestingly enough, that I rather hoped they would.

Because, when it comes down to it, I remember eating snow. The cold crunchiness, the newness of the flakes, the magic of holding out your tongue to catch the fluffy, downy flakes, or scooping it up from un-mashed-up territory. Yes, I remember eating snow, and it is a happy memory. One of those glowing shiny pearls of the past, of my childhood and the wonder of being small and enjoying life for the here and the now. And the uncomplicated.

As I thought over this, I realized even more that while I don't completely understand God's commandments to Adam and Eve, I do understand a parent who gives a commandment he knows will be broken, and a commandment with experiences on the other side that he wants his children to experience. To know the good. For, while I've eaten some nasty snow by mistake, as I'm sure others have, I've also tasted some brilliantly clean and cold snow - and licked some icicles as well. I don't eat snow anymore - and I'm glad I was told it was a bad idea - but I certainly don't wish that I never had licked up some of that chilly fruit from the sky.

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