A Needed Eraser


What is repentance? Let’s try to illustrate …

My mind tuned in and out as the teacher explained the finer points of perspective drawing. I tried to concentrate, but to no avail. My mind kept wandering.

My thoughts were interrupted by the girl sitting next to me. She was tapping my shoulder, wanting to borrow an eraser. I complied and watched my eraser terminate an entire line of notes from her drawing pad.

As she handed it back, I noticed the eraser. It was gray, made of kneaded rubber, malleable and stretchy. These erasers seem to be a bit of magic. They never wear out; they just keep cleaning up your mistakes, no matter how dark. They’re better than any kind of eraser I’ve ever used.

Then a forceful thought came to me: how this small, gray eraser paralleled repentance. I recalled the words to a scripture in Isaiah: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). Perhaps Isaiah’s plea for repentance would have been more easily understood if it went, “Though your sins be as graphite …”

Well, maybe not, yet I imagined the pre-earth life; all of us going to earth at our appointed times, to the college of life to become artists. All of us needed to create some wonderful work of art. But upon arriving at the college of life, none of us knew the first thing about art. We had to learn to draw, and while learning we would all inevitably make mistakes. This is where the Savior came in; he made it possible for each of us to have our own eraser to correct our mistakes.

Suddenly I heard people moving around me. I came out of my meditation. Class was finally over. As I gathered my materials, I heard the teacher say: “The best artist is the one who can see his mistakes and correct them.”

The day’s lesson was well learned.

[illustration] Illustrated by Rick Graham

[photo] Photography by Phil Shurtleff