I will be designing a magazine spread story for the New Era, a magazine geared towards teenagers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I chose to write a story from my teen years where I went to the beach and learned an important lesson from the sand: following the pavement path is easier and better than walking the sandy path less traveled. It relates to my audience because they face many challenges and obstacles during the teenage years and often want to stray from the path. This story gives a good example of why straying can be dangerous. Here is my story and images I want to use.
Story: The Burning Path
Returning from Youth Conference, our Young Women’s leaders surprised us by stopping at a lake so we could swim and relax for a while. We had all had a great time at the conference and were spiritually fed, but I was ready to be back in my routine at home, away from the young women I had spent so much time with over the past [few days; day]. We quickly made our way from the car to the lake, full of energy and excitement to stretch our legs and play in the cool water after hours of riding in the cart on that hot summer’s day. We didn’t live near fresh water, which added to our excitement.
The summer’s heat heat was oppressive and the lake’s water was cool and welcoming as I waded in. The water was quite low, so I squatted down so I could cover my body with as much water as possible. I laid back in the water and floated as long as I could, listening to the other girls laughter and shrieks as they splashed each other with the water. I didn’t feel like joining though; I had always felt lonely in my young women group. I didn’t really feel like I had any friends there and, as wonderful as the water was, I just wanted to go home. When the leaders said it was time to go, I was sad to leave the water behind, but ready to move on.
The girls and leaders started walking up the winding road back to our parked vehicles. As I looked ahead, I saw a direct path through some sand which went up a small incline straight there. I didn’t feel like taking the longer, winding way with the girls and leaders, and the heat was already starting to take away the coolness I had felt in the water, so I chose to walk through the sandy path.
As I started walking I felt pride – I was on my own, leading the way on my own path, not following the crowd. I’d get to the cars before the others. I was so smart. However, my journey was slow going because my sandaled feet kept sinking into the sand and almost slipped off many times. I got annoyed and continued on after removing my sandals. About a minute later I started to feel the heat from the sand.
Each halting step through the burning sand brought searing pain. If I stopped moving, I felt the heat move higher into my leg and when I kept moving, I felt like I was walking on white-hot needles. I glanced behind to see if I could go back the way I came and perhaps follow the path the other girls and our leaders had taken, but I saw that I was already halfway to the cars – there was no turning back now.
Tears began to flow as I continued my treacherous journey through the scorching sand. I regretted my past decision to go another way. Why had I chosen to go this way and not follow the paved path as the others did? Why did I want to be different from everyone and venture out on my own?
I started to pray to my Heavenly Father to give me strength and aid me as I crossed the sand. I prayed to be rescued from the unending pain I was enduring, but though I poured out my soul to Him, no help came. I received no divine help and felt utterly alone.
The final incline sapped by strength and I nearly stumbled up to where the cars were parked, last of all the girls and leaders to reach them. I quickly climbed into the closest car, hid my tears, and sat in shame and embarrassment as we drove home, holding my feet on a cold water bottle to alleviate the some of the pain, redness, and swelling. I never told my leaders what happened because I felt stupid.
Though it was one of my life’s more painful experiences, I learned a lot from it. I learned that paths are there for a reason. They keep us on track, safe, and help us reach our destination in the best time possible.
Quote to add to text box:
President Spencer W. Kimball – Whoever said that sin was not fun? […] Whoever said that sin was unattractive, undesirable, or nauseating in its acceptance? […] Sin is easy and has a big company of bed fellows. It promises immunity from restrictions, temporary freedoms. It can momentarily satisfy hunger, thirst, desire, urges, passions, wants, without immediately paying the price. But, it begins tiny and grows to monumental proportions. It grows drop by drop, inch by inch.
Sources for images: