To be honest, the last couple of weeks have been a rush: stress piled on top of illness (nothing exceeds the generosity of a toddler sharing his cold), and just as I’m catching my breath, the holidays are upon us.
There’s a lot I love about the holidays: friends and family and food. And a lot I don’t love: navigating expectations that never quite match the reality, the physical details of travel, trying to maintain some semblance of schedule for my order-loving oldest son.
It’s easy, for me at least, to get caught up in the rush and to mumble through the things I’m grateful for because it’s part of what we do at Thanksgiving.
But at church yesterday I was reminded–again–why gratitude isn’t just one more activity to do at Thanksgiving, but something I need daily.
I taught a lesson on conversion to a group of Mia Maids, but it became one of those lessons where I felt I was learning along with everyone else, not just teaching. In a talk by Elder Bednar, he talks about how the seed of conversion is gratitude for the gift of a testimony.
That idea has stuck with me. I need to be grateful, because it’s part of the process of conversion, part of the way I turn my heart and thoughts over to God.
I need to be grateful, because gratitude keeps me anchored in the moment. I struggle so much with thinking ahead, with picturing Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and the things I’m going to do tomorrow, next week, next month, and sometimes I forget to just be. I forget to pay attention to the way my toddler weighs down my chest in his favorite game (Mommy pancake), or the way my daughter’s gap-toothed smile lights up her face, or the way my oldest talks like an old man when he’s particularly earnest.
Gratitude helps me remember.
In the spirit of this week, I just want to leave this quote in closing, which I love:
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton
How does gratitude help you in your life? And how do you remember, amid everything else going on, to be grateful?