Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude

So it's the night before Thanksgiving, and I'll admit, I've been feeling a little bit sorry for myself. Not only are we away from our families, but we are in a strange country that obviously doesn't acknowledge good ol' turkey day. Our branch is having a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, but I can't help but imagine my whole family getting together tomorrow to stuff themselves silly with the standard Balderree faves. I can imagine all the sisters after dinner chit-chatting in the living room while the kids run around in the backyard. Of course the husbands will be in whatever corner of the house they can find to take a nap. But I'm obviously having a different holiday this year.

Tom is in school ALL DAY. He'll probably be gone first thing in the morning, and he won't get back until 8:00 at night at the earliest. Jackson will already be in bed. Joni will be anxiously waiting for her daddy to come home so she can say goodnight. And November 27th will have come and gone.

So I was literally on the verge of tears thinking about this, when I walked down the hall to get a glass of water. I could hear Tom in Joni's room, still getting her to go down for bed. I could hear him talking, so I stepped up to the door to hear what he was saying. He was laying in her princess bed with her, telling her about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and where the Jews come from. It was adorable. That was her scripture time for the night.

Suddenly I remembered all I have. I snapped this picture to help me not forget again.

Then I decided to do some reading to help me really get in the Thanksgiving spirit. I came across a talk by Robert D. Hales. There were so many good points made, but this section stood out to me for obvious reasons:

Gratitude expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have brings a calming peace—a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future. A recognition of and appreciation for our gifts and talents which have been given also allows us to acknowledge the need for help and assistance from the gifts and talents possessed by others.

Gratitude is a divine principle:

“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” (D&C 59:7.)

This scripture means that we express thankfulness for what happens, not only for the good things in life but also for the opposition and challenges of life that add to our experience and faith. We put our lives in His hands, realizing that all that transpires will be for our experience.

Could that quote have been any more perfect for me?

So I now have a new plan for tomorrow. I don't need a home stuffed full of people, laughter, fine china, OR even mom's famous stuffing to feel gratitude for all that I have. The kids and I will have our own little day. A quiet day where we can take time to ponder on all we have. To show gratitude for the angels God has granted us here to keep us safe. We'll take a moment, or a few moments, to realize how grateful we are that my dad is still around. The wheels are still turning, and it will be a simple day, but it will be a good day.

I will be thanking Heavenly Father tonight for the very blunt reminder that I am here for a purpose, and that I need to stop dwelling on the things I don't have. I will do better at thanking Him for both the good things in my life, and the challenges. And in turn, maybe I'll keep getting some of that peace He promised :)

5 comments:

weezwhetten said...

Amy-you are so amazing. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. Since I can't, I'll wish you, Tom, Joni, and Jackson a wonderful Thanksgiving! Take care!

Aroundthetowns said...

I have to admit that I'm tickled that the quilt I made for Joni is with her in Israel (I noticed it in the photo). I don't know how you do it being so far from home. I guess I'm too big of a momma's girl. Happy Thanksgiving. We are thinking of you in Georgia.
Haley

Jared and Tara said...

thanks for posting this amy. i think it's easy to forget what we have.

Emma said...

I'll add an "amen" to Tara's comment. Your insight on thankfulness touched me deeply.

PS. This is Cyndy. I don't know how Emma managed to change it to her name!

Trisha Read said...

I love reading your blog! I usually don't want to read blogs I just search for the pictures. But I have to tell you Amy that I look forward to your adventures and the great stories you have to tell and the things that you are learning in life!
And that you're a great example of pressing forward!