An Attitude of Gratitude

On Monday, I had one of those days. All of life’s stresses caught up with me and I was just plain tired. Tired of always getting volunteered and no one else stepping up. Frustrated at being forced to say “no” just to keep my head above water. Exhausted at feeling like I’m juggling so many things that I cannot possibly give them my all. Tired of my knee that has grown progressively worse and is on the cusp of rendering me incapable of doing the activities I love. Tired of Jamie’s 15-hour work days, of clients who don’t pay on time and feeling financially strapped again and again. For feeling like we are constantly working and yet never getting ahead.

It was the culmination of several months of spinning so furiously on an axis you could almost feel the whirl of the universe. And I just wanted it to stop.

I purposefully have nothing on my calendar this week. I went to lunch in Golden with some of my besties: Lisa, Eva and Jennefer. We grabbed sandwiches and sat overlooking Clear Creek. We talked about nothing and yet it meant everything. We strolled the path watching the remnants of summer slip into autumn’s free-spirited, golden-tinged magnificence.

That afternoon, I played with Bode–Candy Land, then Sorry. I marveled at his generosity to offer me his turn when I was losing, to always bolster me up when I was down. When Hadley came home from school she selflessly divulged all the details of her day. We read her new library books and for the first time, she did not resist doing her homework. We grilled burgers and ate outside. During dinner, I announced we were going to talk about gratitude for Family Home Evening.

Last weekend was our church’s semi-annual General Conference where our leaders gather to impart wisdom and inspiration to people all over the world. President Thomas S. Monson’s talk about gratitude struck a chord with me.

We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude…If ingratitude is be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.

I asked everyone to go around the table and say two things for which they are grateful. In a sweet, fleeting moment (and without prompting), we all separately expressed our gratitude for our family, health and God’s beautiful creations–a reminder of what truly matters.

We played soccer with the kids as we watched the coral sun slip behind the cerulean mountains. The children grew stronger with each kick, their enthusiasm and laughter echoing into the night air. Soon, all that was above us was the deepness and vastness of an ebony sky.

That night as we snuggled in bed, we read about Mrs. Frizzle’s whimsical adventures in the Magic School Bus and Lehi’s dream about sharing the fruit from the Tree of Life with his family. Bode and Hadley marveled at every word. I felt charmed and blessed. President Monson:

My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable; to enact gratitude is generous and noble; but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.

That night, I finally felt it: the still in the spinning.

And heaven seemed just a little bit closer.

Other Posts