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Monday, November 23, 2009

Living in Thanksgiving Daily



Whitney succeeded in extracting her crown from her rectum this week. Would you like to know how?

Bam.

Much of my thoughts and musings these past few weeks have somberly turned to happier times when I enjoyed myself more fully and was more prone to noticing all of the things in my life that were just right. In the absence of terribly obvious blessings, I found myself floundering. I knew my trials could teach me experience and build my character. But frankly I didn't give a darn. Cynicism and sarcasm easily found their way into my humor, conversation, and ultimately my entire mindset. It is easy for me to give way to a more sardonic outlook on life and this past month or so has been a snippy, quippy one at best.

Then I read this talk from Joseph B. Wirthlin. Live in Thanksgiving Daily. He says:

"The Roman orator Cicero claimed a certain quality was 'not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.' It is a quality I have found in every happy person I know. It is a quality that instantly makes a person more likable and more at peace. Where there is an abundance of this virtue, there is happiness. Where there is an absence of this virtue, there is often sadness, resentment, and futility.

The virtue I am speaking of is gratitude."

And then it becomes clear. We are given trials and hardships to help us. I think in the midst of our wallowing, we sometimes make circumstances harder on ourselves than Heavenly Father intended. We live, we lose, we learn, we lift. Loss is only a small part of the process.

I also realized that I probably haven't been much fun to be around. I thought about the people in my life that are genuinely happy and striving for optimism all the time. My brother Justin is a good example of that for me. He is always acting, looking and speaking upward. I want to be more like that. I want to be someone that others can turn to as a source of strength who can uplift them. Besides, how long can a pity party really last before your only guest wants to leave?

Elder Wirthlin mentioned three things we can do to live in thanksgiving daily:

First- We must open our eyes.
There are blessings all around us. Thrill with the experiences of everyday life. Enjoy your morning shower, your especially delicious lunch, your caring friend, your roof's safe shelter overhead, your underused scriptures, and your personal one-on-one time with Heavenly Father. When you look for blessings, it feels like a floodgate of them has been opened from heaven.

Second- We must open our hearts.
"We must let go of the negative emotions that bind our hearts and instead fill our souls with love, faith, and thanksgiving."
Elder Wirthlin hit it right on when he addressed the draining effects of negativity. How can we fill our lives with gratitude if we are constantly feeling angry, sad, melancholy, or longing for a past that won't return?

Third- We must open our arms.
Oh the underrated effects of service. I don't know that there is a quicker way to lift your spirits than to lift someone else's. This Sunday I had the awesome opportunity to teach the lesson in Relief Society. In praying super hard for the girls in my ward, I experienced more love and concern for them than I did for my own self. Which felt good when I took a step back and realized I wasn't focusing so much on me.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday. And I have a firm testimony in the power of gratitude.

-I am grateful for my family who continually takes care of me and has an invested interest in my life.
-I am grateful for my friends who give me constant companionship while I'm away from my family and make me feel loved.
-I am grateful for my Heavenly Father who continually reminds me that He is planning a future for me too exquisite to comprehend.

Gratitude. Pass it on. (:

1 comment:

The Thornocks said...

Like I said before, this post made my soul smile. I like reading your testimony and having something to think about. It makes me stop and think about what's really important. Tonight we had FHE and it was on gratitude. Chad said he posted something on Facebook about being grateful for the not so common things. So this week I shall let Heavenly Father know all the things that I'm grateful for that I don't normally thank Him for, like indoor plumbing.