Monday, June 11, 2012

attitude of gratitude

Having a grateful heart is one of the most endearing qualities of a person. It is the fundamental root, truly the foundation, of humility. Gratitude has the power to lift the lives of those it's bestowed upon. Through living a life of gratitude, we open the doors of happiness. It's for those reasons, and a multitude of others, that I strive to develop an attitude of gratitude every day.

Life is filled with challenges, learning opportunities, bumps, surprises, and opportunities to grow. Things rarely go as planned and life is full of pressure and stresses. In a world that continually seems to stress the things that don't matter most, it's easy to get trapped in situations that cause us to question who we are and where we're going. But all it takes is a moment to step back, look around, and realize the beauty of what we've been given. There is reason to worry and be sad, but there is much more to be happy about. Don't lose sight of those marvelous and precious things each of us have in our lives.

My freshman year at BYU I made a "Gratitude" journal at a Relief Society activity. I wrote something I was grateful for each day in it. As things usually go, it eventually got lost in the busyness of life. Fast forward to my junior year. The Bishop called me Saturday and asked me to give a talk in Sacrament the next day for someone who had gotten sick. Even though I couldn't have been more busy that day, my mom taught me to never say no, so I gladly accepted the chance to talk. After driving to Salt Lake for a BYU basketball game I had to work, I got home with intentions of finishing a paper and preparing my talk. Of course, I was invited to the lake and got a call from my the guy I was head over heels for. hHe asked me to come to Park City with him. I wanted to go more than anything! I hadn't seen him in awhile and calls from him were sporadic so I never knew when the next one was coming. As much as I couldn't believe I was turning the offer down, I knew I had to stay home and work on the things that needed to get done. That night while I was working on my talk, I hit a wall and started dragging my feet in frustration. A minute later, I found something: my gratitude journal. I flipped through the pages and my eyes started to tear up when I found this page: "I am grateful for the opportunity to give talks and lessons. What a wonderful blessing it is to study the principles of the gospel, to learn and grow, to draw closer to the Savior, to feel the spirit, and to be uplifted. I love that every time I bear my testimony, my own testimony is what is strengthened most."
 I love those tender mercies in our life when our Heavenly Father reminds us of what is truly important. My attitude changed.... [and I went on to marry that boy so we can have as many Park City dates as we want :)]

Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave thanks to the members of the church and others in his talk "Because of Your Faith". When I gave my closing and farewell lesson to the relief society after serving them for two years, my heart could not have been more full. While Elder Holland clearly feels it much more than me, I did the best to echo the words of his talk.

I have struggled to find an adequate way to tell you how loved of God you are and how grateful we on this stand are for you. I am trying to be voice for the very angels of heaven in thanking you for every good thing you have ever done, for every kind word you have ever said, for every sacrifice you have ever made in extending to someone—to anyone—the beauty and blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My thanks to all you wonderful members of the Church—and legions of good people not of our faith—for proving every day of your life that the pure love of Christ “never faileth.” 4 No one of you is insignificant, in part because you make the gospel of Jesus Christ what it is—a living reminder of His grace and mercy, a private but powerful manifestation in small villages and large cities of the good He did and the life He gave bringing peace and salvation to other people. We are honored beyond expression to be counted one with you in such a sacred cause.

I am grateful. My mom coined the phrase in my life, "my heart is smiling" and my heart is truly smiling for all that I've been given. I have a full list of things I'm worried about, but life is so much more fulfilling if we will turn to the infinite blessings we have. No one is short on them.

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