In tough times we must hearken to the counsel found in the great hymn, "Count Your Blessings". Can you guess what we must do? We need to count our blessings! There is a fantastic quote that is up in the home of one of my best friends, Elder Daniel Houston (currently is serving a full-time mission in the Colorado Denver South Mission). It states: There is always always always something to be grateful for. I love that quote. It is so true! Even when times are incredibly hard and nothing seems to be going right...there is always something to be grateful for. Here are three examples for you. One pop-cultural. One personal. One scriptural.
|Luke Skywalker literally holding on for dear life with one hand|
- Pop-Cultural - People who know me know that I deeply love the Star Wars saga. I cannot help myself. It is simply a dynamite series that I can watch over and over. Those of you who are familiar with Star Wars will remember that at the end of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Luke Skywalker is in a light-saber duel with Darth Vader. Luke gets his hand cut off by Vader's blaring red light-saber. No good huh? WELL, Luke stayed positive and kept trying with his other hand. Others were counting on him. He didn't give up and let Darth Vader kill him! He kept holding on for dear life (literally) and he was able to survive. After that epic duel with Lord Vader, Luke was then able to get a robotic hand that looked and acted just like his real one. Huzzah! Everything worked out for Luke (and the galaxy!) because he kept holding on. He was grateful for his hand that he still had and he made the most of it.
- Personal - Just recently I was going through a tough time. I continued to work hard and do the best that I could as I served the people in my area. Because of obedience I was given a blessing from God. It did not come in the way that I expected it to but it came nonetheless. As I mentioned earlier...missionaries get to communicate with family and friends on a very limited basis. Therefore...missionaries love to get mail. So, on Monday April 18th, 2011 my brother, Brett Lee, sent me an email telling me that he had JUST sent off a package for me in the mail. This made me so happy! The package that I received a few days later was amazing. It was heartfelt and full of love. It was just what I needed. Also, I got an Easter package from my mom and dad. I also got some top-notch letters from some very good friends from back home that brightened my day (you know who you are!). To those who were a part of this series of awesome mail...thank you thank you thank you! I am so grateful for these simple but powerful blessings.
- Scriptural - In the Book of Moroni (contained within the Book of Mormon) there are absolutely awful things happening. Terrible sins are being committed by previously righteous people. There are only a few "good" people left and they are spread apart. It is a truly diabolical and dark setting. Anyone would have the urge to be depressed. Even in the midst of all of this evil, a father (Mormon) and a son (Moroni) are able to build each other up through a series of letters (or "epistles") with pure testimony and perfect hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They teach and brighten each other through their prayers and their kind words. "My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever" (Moroni 9: 25). Hope. That is what keeps us together in times of darkness. Mormon was able to remind his son, Moroni, of the perfect hope contained in Jesus Christ. There is always something to be grateful for.
|President Thomas S. Monson|
There are times when we are in a slump and things aren't going well for us. Stuff happens! Life isn't exactly fair. But God does expect us to do the best with the situations that we have been given. President Thomas S. Monson gave a talk called, "The Divine Gift of Gratitude" (check it out...it's pretty much amazing). Within it he states, "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". I love that. To be positive and happy we must have an attitude gratitude. President Monson also said, "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."
I know within my heart that as we are strictly obedient to God's commandments we will receive blessings. I know that as we are grateful for what we have been given we will lift ourselves and those around us and God will be even more pleased with us. I hope that we all may fill our hearts with "an attitude of gratitude" as we realized that there is always always always something to be grateful for.