If ever there was a female version of Cookie Monster, my 5 year old niece is it. She’s obsessed by sweets, much to the chagrin of her health conscious mother. Last Thursday night, I saw her overwhelming sweet obsession in action. And it taught me a lesson.

chocolate rasp cheesecake.0101_0Sweet Niece fixated on the wedding cake [raspberry, chocolate cheesecake to be exact] at her aunt’s wedding reception.  She ate other treats, but nothing satiated her desire for that ultimate prize.

One sister-in-law found Sweet Niece being physically restrained from the cake. Two cousins held Sweet Niece’s waist, pulling back as hard as they could as Sweet Niece strained for a handful of cake. My sister-in-law reminded her of wedding cake etiquette—we have to wait for the bride and groom to cut the cake. She quickly took Sweet Niece into the kitchen to give her a mini cheesecake that we’d been putting on the refreshment table for guests.

Sweet Niece asked me at least 3 times when the bride and groom would cut the cake. She’d play with cousins, but drifted ever so longingly back to the cake.  More aunts and uncles cautioned her impulsive hand.

She remained fixated and obedient.

FINALLY, that magical moment arrived.  The bride and groom cut the cake!  My pictures show the bride and groom smiling at the cake table, then as they cut the cake Sweet Niece appears front and center ready for her piece.

sweet nieceTo her dismay, bride and groom then left the table, tossed bouquets and garters, and then began dancing!  She looked around. No cake! She left the cake table. I stood near the cake table and photographed the first dance and dad and bride dance.

Suddenly, Sweet Niece dragged her mom to the table. Sweet Niece held a bowl from the refreshment table (soup was served) and a fork. She logically stated that bride and groom had cut the cake and now she wanted her piece of cake. Her mom gently said she needed to wait until it was cut for everyone. Overcome by dashed hopes and expectations, Sweet Niece lost it.

I’d been very aware of Sweet Niece and the promises made to Sweet Niece. She’d resisted temptation over and over again for nearly two hours! The promised delight should have been in her grasp. But, it wasn’t. She was done with the patience thing. She’d done everything she’d been told to do. Where was her reward?

I quickly walked over, confirmed with my sister, took the bowl, sliced a piece, put it in the bowl, and gave it to Sweet Niece. I thanked her for being so obedient and not grabbing the fistfuls of cake she craved all night.

She danced away, prize in hand, never to be seen at the wedding cake table again.

Eternal Prizes

As I watched Sweet Niece watch the cake, I admired her diligent focus. I admired her self-restraint. I admired her logical situational understanding. When Sweet Niece lost it, parts of my life flashed before my eyes.

In the Book of Mormon, King Benjami gave a sermon on the atonement of Jesus ChristGod’s Plan of Salvation promises many prizes to the focused and faithful. The requirements to obtain the prize are generally pretty clear cut. For eternal life, we must choose mortality, observe covenant requisites, obey commandments, and endure to the end. During this mortal life, the Savior promises prizes of peace, protection, companionship of the Holy Ghost, and an abundant life.

King Benjamin taught his people “see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize….”

Sometimes, while understanding the requirements and obligations to receive the prize, our expectation of receiving the prize may not be totally accurate. Sweet Niece knew she would receive cake after the bride and groom cut the cake. She understood that to mean immediately upon cake cutting. We knew it meant whenever cake was cut and ready for everyone. We could have clarified the expectation since she is 5 and took everything said at face value.

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To read more of Delisa’s articles, click here.

Sweet Niece was focused and faithful. She knew the requirements for the cake. But, she concluded an expectation without fully confirming with someone who ultimately knew and understood the process. Admittedly, during times of trial, I’ve been fed up with being patient and have lost it. I’m grateful for the Savior’s grace at those times, for swooping in and giving me comfort or peace or understanding about an outcome I could have easily confirmed with Him, but didn’t.

I love Sweet Niece’s intentional approach to wedding cake. She reminds me that there is the very sweetest, most delicious prize still to come and I should deliberately focus on it until it’s finally mine, eternally.

About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

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