The night before last Jim and I went with the Elders to visit some inactive members in one of the little villages close to our city. Both husband and wife greeted us with warmth and we had a lovely visit with them in their little living room heated by a wood stove. When it was time to leave, we stepped out into the crisp fall air, the wood smoke is lingering around the house, I wanted to linger as well. Our new friends asked us if we wanted some apples.....Now in Croatia, you have to know, they are REALLY proud of their apples. Everywhere you go, out in the country, people want to give you some of their apples. We have been given many apples. And the giver always says, "these apples are pure, no spray, given to you just the way God gave them to us."
So this morning, Jim was working hard at his language study, I decided I would make some apple crisp for the Elders for dinner tonight. I started into what I thought would be a wormy sack of apples. "No spray, just as God gave them to us", kept ringing in my ears. As I began to cut and peel the apples, I realized that they really were pretty good. On the outside, they looked terrible, the skin was pitted, blotchy, and sometimes so discolored that I would have thought the apple inside would have been rotten, but not so much. The fruit inside was good, it was firm, sweet, and tasty! These apple intrigued me. They were not at all like the apples in my favorite grocery store at home. (Kent's Grocery Store in Roy, Utah is the VERY BEST! in the whole world.) They weren't like the primary song that I sang as a child. "Apples red and apples yellow, round and juicy, sweet and mellow." The skin was not pretty, they had problems, but....in the whole sack of about 10 lbs. there were only three apples that were infested with worms. For some strange reason, that really surprised me.
As I sat and peeled I thought of how we are like those apples. Some of us are just the way God made us, we are far from perfect, but our insides are pure, our actions show that we care for our fellow men, and our hearts have a love for the Savior as we endeavor to follow Him. There were three apples that had worms in them.. I saw where the insect had tunneled into the core of the apple, eating away at the good fruit and spoiling it. I couldn't help but think of how sin, sometime gets into the core of us. Just a little at first, then tunnels deep into our souls. As I cut away the infested part of the apple, I didn't throw away the whole apple, just the bad part. Our Savior has provided for us the Atonement. To cut away the sin, to make us clean, and to redeem us. I guess while I was sitting at my kitchen table cutting up apples today, I just had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude come over me and I thought I would share it with you. How grateful I am for The Savior, for His atoning sacrifice, and for His love.
The apple crisp was wonderful, but the time I spent pondering this great miracle was priceless....