Sunday, November 27, 2011
A day filled with gratitude. That's what today is.
A few weeks ago, Keith and I were approached by our local church (we refer to this geographical boundary as a "ward") leadership to speak to our congregation today on the subject of Thanksgiving or gratitude.
Of course, we agreed after the initial surprise of this somewhat random choosing, and, speaking for myself here, I acknowledged and accepted the little bit of added stress that naturally comes with these kind of things.
Not too long after this conversation, as I was sitting in my chair waiting for the Sunday school/Gospel Doctrine lesson to begin, I thought of what that brother said: "I just couldn't stop thinking about you two for this subject, for this special weekend." I rehearsed these words over and over in my mind. Then it hit me.
I knew that I was the one needing to speak about gratitude.
You see, I've been on a mission to live it. To test its promise. Especially these last two years.
And now I see for myself that gratitude has been the key to unlocking the doors to my own personal happiness. A loving God's tender and most profound lesson taught and received; grace to a seeking, starving soul. This practice of seeing, acknowledging, naming, remembering; not just theoretically, but really engaging my whole being, whether it was through my ongoing "thankful" lists, my journaling, my blogging, my photographing, my praying.
This idea of Thanks-Living, not just a"Let's be thankful" Thanksgiving Day afterthought or desired virtue, this life changing habit has brought me a profound sense of peace and joy. My journey, a treasure hunt of sorts, searching for the simple beauties of life. God's "tender mercies". His hand in my life, my family's life.
I knew I was meant to not only to share my experience and feelings with others today, but I think more importantly, I needed this opportunity to voice, to gather, to formulate, to review all of this, the impact and power it's had on my life. To me. Emily. More than any other. And what a concrete way in which to do it. A culminating celebration.
So it is yet another gift.
And is it a coincidence, on this Gratitude Sunday, that my precious son Gary has come to the culminating point now in his life with his decision to become a full-time servant to God and His children? Turning in his papers this very afternoon in a meeting with his Bishop, (area leader) willingly serving and devoting these next two years of his young life as a missionary for our church.
This son of mine. There just aren't words to express the years and years of laborious soul searching preparation, the saving and the enormous sacrificing (in ways too innumerable to count), the heart felt yearning... All of it a prelude to the fruits of today's joy and anticipation. The eager awaiting now in these next few weeks to know what place it is in this world that God wants him to serve. To share. To grow.
All because of love. And the miracle that is gratitude.