Monday, August 29, 2011


I am not a grateful person by nature.  You know how when you're asked to give a talk or lesson in church it's usually on a principle that you need to work on?  Starting in my middle teens and extending through my junior year of university, I believe I was asked to give at least five talks on gratitude.  Ouch.  The last talk assignment was actually gratitude and humility.  Double ouch.  More often than not, I feel like God has to give me a good smack over the head with a spiritual 2x4 before I "get it."  

Though I haven't given a talk on gratitude for a while, it's a subject that has remained on the edges of my thoughts.  It is still a principle I struggle with--it's such a reflex to devote all attention to this moment's petty trial--but I have tried to be more grateful.  Looking at my life--past, present, and future--through the lens of gratitude turns my heart softer, my countenance brighter, my thoughts happier.  I am more pleasant.  I am more content.  I am closer to God.  

Today, sitting in church, I was overwhelmed by gratitude.  It didn't stem from the speakers (though they were great), it didn't stem from any big change (though there have been some); it sprung from some internal well I don't often draw deeply from.  And because I was grateful, not just for any one thing but for my life in general, I was transcendently happy, content, and at peace.  

I was still floating when I went to Relief Society, filled with a strong sense that life is good.  Our instructor asked us each to think of a trial we're going through.  I'll be darned, but I couldn't think of one for at least a minute or two.  My life is not challenge-free, but in those couple of hours, my pesky trials were so dwarfed by blessings! happiness! contentment! that they ceased to merit any attention.  

When I finally did "remember" the main thorn in my side, I was shocked I'd forgotten it.  Hadn't I cried and lost sleep over this thing?  Wasn't it my main cause of stress?  But just like that, it was no longer on my radar.  Insignificant.  A non-issue.

I'm still not grateful by nature.  But I am grateful for the reminder that happiness comes from within, that trials are rarely as significant as they seem, and that, holy moly, I am sure blessed.

And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.  - D&C 78:19

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