The morning of Thanksgiving I read several scriptures that command us to give thanks in all things. Not just the pleasant things, but ALL things. That's not necessarily easy for me...but I don't know that it's meant to be. The saying it with my mouth part is easy, but I think honestly feeling it in my heart can take work. Here's a sampling of the crowd of people at our Thanksgiving feast: a grandmother who is in constant, debilitating pain, an uncle separated from his family for the holiday because of addiction, a mother with back pain, a father who has never been able to run.
So how does one find gratitude in ALL of these circumstances? It's not that I don't know, but it's helpful to remind myself again and again. I believe in a Savior who consecrates all experiences for our good...if we let Him. His very existence heals our broken hearts, strengthens our feeble knees, cleanses our souls, compensates our losses, gives purpose to our trials, deepens our joys, and anything else which has any semblence of meaning. We can give thanks in all circumstances, because at least we have circumstances. He has given us the opportunity to live, to experience the rawest of human emotions, and to transcend into something holier. The atonement gives life to life, which is far beyond my capacity to fully understand. I offer my gratitude to Him, in whatever imperfect way that I can...and am humbled by the opportunity. He has made life worth living.I hope you have a heart exploding with gratitude this month...and always!
"It seems as though there is a tug-of-war between opposing character traits that leaves no voids in our souls. As gratitude is absent or disappears, rebellion often enters and fills the vacuum. I do not speak of rebellion against civil oppression. I refer to rebellion against moral cleanliness, beauty, decency, honesty, reverence, and respect for parental authority. A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being." -James E. Faust, Gratitude As a Saving Principle
p.s. I'm especially grateful today for my dad who is turning 60! Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you more than ten thousand red-leafed trees.
Photo courtesy of my sister, taken at Zion's National Park this fall.