I had to make a run to Walmart late this evening for a few essentials that couldn't have waited until morning. I was a little irritated. It was about 25 degrees outside, so it took a good 10 minutes of shivering and watching my breath dissolve the little patches of frost on the window before the warmth kicked in. The cold only irritated me further. The store was more silent than I've ever experienced. I could hear my own shoes as they dragged along the cement while I listlessly scanned the shelves for more stuff we really couldn't afford. My feet have been dragging a lot lately.
Money has been in the forefront of my mind. It was certainly on my mind tonight as I passed all the toys and other Christmas goodies that I know my children are so excitedly looking forward to. Instead of the exhilarating anticipation I usually feel when I see the halls decked with boughs of holly, I found myself worrying about not having enough. And I'm not talking about frivolous worry over whether or not I'd be able to afford this toy or that electronic. I'm referring to the type of acid-stomach inducing anxiety that comes from not knowing how you're going to make it until the next paycheck.
I mulled over my financial worries the entire drive home, feeling quite sorry for myself, and even hoisted the heavy sack of burden over my shoulders to carry along with the groceries all the way into the house. But something happened in the silence of my living room- what I could only call divine inspiration. I felt these words, "Be thankful, Janet. Haven't all your needs been met? Haven't you always had enough?" And the answer is yes, of course. I haven't always received everything I thought I wanted, But yes- I have always had enough of what I needed.
In the October 2008 session of General Conference, President Monson
said, "Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in
hand with gratitude for our blessings. Said one well-known author;
'Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our
lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which
secret garden we will tend...when we choose not to focus on what is
missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's
present- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and
personal pursuits that bring [happiness]- the wasteland of illusion
falls away and we experience heaven on earth."
Emma, Ben, and Lyla- you're going to be told repeatedly throughout your life that "Faith is the cure for Fear." But I would add gratitude as an anecdote as well. There really are few things that can melt the icy stranglehold of fear, worry, anxiety, pride, greed, comparison, and covetousness as effectively as bowing your head in humility and thanking your Heavenly Father for everything you have been so generously blessed with. There are going to be so many times in your lives that you will feel there is nothing to be thankful for. That life is too unfair. That everyone else has been given certain privileges and preferences. When these feelings crop up, I beg you to pray. I promise you will be given an immediate reminder of just how lucky and blessed you have been. It will feel like a fog lifting and suddenly you'll realize how significant it is that you simply awoke that morning. That you had food, and a warm place to live, and parents that love you unconditionally. There is always something to be grateful for. Search for it. Practice feeling and expressing gratitude for everything and everyone around you.
As for me? I'm thankful for my husband and babies- my family, a loving Father in Heaven, our health, friends- their health, our home, the one income that we do have, our pets, the sweet, sparkly innocence of this season, a more reliable car to get us through the winter, Thanksgiving (the verb and holiday) and so, so, so much more...
I love you, my babies.