The attitude at this time of year is so much that of gratitude (even enormous gratitude and even from those who are grieving) because of our many large and small blessings.
And yet…it is an excruciatingly painful season for those who actually lost a family member or dear friend, especially to senseless violence, this very weekend. God’s plans for this world and for us individually are inscrutable more often than not. As tears stream we wonder when all the killing will stop. We don’t know the answer specifically but we do know these things:
- God is aware of everything that happens.
- Those who kill for no justifiable reason will be brought to justice.
- Life, including family and friends, continues after this world.
- When the Savior of the world returns to earth, the senseless killings will stop.
No matter how strong or how weak our Faith may be, knowing that no one can hide from God will get us through just about anything and give us the blessing of inner peace while we struggle outwardly with raw emotions. As our spiritual knowledge increases, we understand even more, even in the face of outright tragedy and daily horrors like starvation, kidnapping, and abuse across the planet. If we have a true worldview, we feel very grateful to be able to do something to help in the world. We’re then not part of the problem but can try to help ease it.
We should all be deeply grateful for living in this time of amazing advances in technology and forensic science. Among other things that need fixing, the legal system in this country is about as messed up as anything can get but law enforcement itself has always had a very long arm. Eventually, even “cold cases” end up solved, often with the help of new technology. Those not resolved will be taken care of on the other side of mortality.
Having friends who invite you for Thanksgiving dinner is a wonderful blessing when loneliness would otherwise take over. You can hold yourself together for that fun occasion and enjoy their wonderful children and grandchildren, laughing when it’s discovered the 2-year-old has dialed a number of people on Grandpa’s cellphone! You feel such love and gratitude toward them.
We Can Recognize the Small Blessings
It’s easy to overlook the small blessings, things that might seem insignificant. A big part of gratitude is recognizing when those small blessings are actually huge. Sometimes we’re sick for a reason. We might have a reaction to the newest pneumonia vaccine and be forced to stay in the house, barely able to sit up for several days. A lovely migraine follows. It’s all unpleasant but because that happened, it set us up for a series of better events in our lives.
Rain in an area that boasts of endless sunshine might bring whining and moaning from the residents but in a drought-ridden area is a huge blessing. The air is damp and cold but with the front door open, it truly smells like a night in the forest out there, as John Denver would sing. Such gratitude felt and prayers for more rain sent up.
A Gratitude Journal
Keeping a gratitude journal can be easy to forget about in our hectic world but is a great place to record beautiful things that take your breath away:
- An oversized moon on a clear night
- A cat that avoided an oncoming car while racing home
- A pixilated squirrel that took a bite out of the wrong mushroom
- An unexpected kiss from a dear, dear friend
- Listening to fabulous music from our younger years – on a tablet yet and at any hour of the day or night
- A 3-year-old saying you have grey hair like his daddy
- Living the kind of life others said you would never have
We feel so much gratitude at this time of year and hope we can spread the joy over the other weeks and months to come.