A woman told this story in sacrament meeting, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I checked it out, and it is not true. So, I like to think of it as a parable.
Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother - in the house was looking out the window - saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.
Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.
Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal and, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother's fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn't let go."
The woman speaking likened this story to how we should be as desperate in our attempt to follow the Lord's way. Since hearing this story, I have asked myself questions I pose to the rest of you.
Do I understand the urgency of the time I live in? Do I hold on to my values in the same dire manner? What can I do to be stronger than the alligator griping onto my salvation? How can I create a home where my children can be well equipped with what they need to fight for their own values?
Isn't it funny how all the answers to these questions fall amidst the same answers we hear every week? Isn't it also funny how we still need to hear it as much as possible?