Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gratitude Becomes Service

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought;
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~G.K. Chesterton

I could list all of the things I'm grateful for, and I know it would be long. It would include people, places, experiences, pains, joys, basic necessities, and the written word (in all forms). I could go on forever, really. I could. And to be honest, I try to be a grateful person in general, but sometimes I fail. I forget how much I have. I dwell on the bad stuff.

But you know? Bad stuff happens to everyone, not just me.

This is why I'm so grateful for the Primary theme this month: My Family and I Can Serve Others. Both #1 and #2 gave talks this month in Primary on this topic, and so I've had time to think about it a lot. I've been dwelling a lot on my current problems (no job, Depression, other-stuff-I'm-sure-I-have-if-I-think-about-it-long-enough) and I realized I needed to shift focus.

How I shifted:
*I was inspired by President Monson's talk (we discussed in it Relief Society on Sunday) and Alison Wonderland's post on service. I was also inspired by m&m providing my family with a "warm fuzzy" jar (read Pres. Monson's talk to know what that is) and this awesome, awesome video:

*I helped make personal gift baskets that will be delivered to mothers for the Sub for Santa program in our area.
*I took several tags off of the giving tree, realizing I had most of the stuff at home and could easily provide more.
*I had the kids help me make banana bread on Sunday and we took the loaves to people in the ward who have helped my kids.
*At FHE last night, we talked about the Holy Ghost and how He can prompt us to serve others.
*Today we are going to be taking food to the food bank.
*Oh! Last week, Brandon took the kids with him to clean the church.
*I remembered fondly our Christmas gifts from Brandon's mom and sister last year: Money to donate to Kiva (this is awesome --you need to do this if you can! It's been a year and I'm still able to re-loan out the same amount of money over and over and over) and money to buy food for a food bank in CA. The kids had so much fun shopping for food for other people; we talked about it again last night and I realized that it was the BEST Christmas gift they've ever received! Thank you to Nana!

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing
and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
~G.K. Chesterton

Now that I've shifted a tad, I realize that I'm so blessed. So lucky. So very, very, very rich. Even now as I type this, I am overcome with gratitude to my God for all He has done, all He has given, and all I know He will continue to give. My life is not the one I thought it would be, and my problems and pains are not the ones I wanted them to be, but I would be a filthy liar if I said I wasn't grateful for all of it. Because I am. I love my life. And this gives me the power to serve others.
Or is the serving giving me the power to be grateful?
I believe it's both--so deeply intertwined together that you cannot see the beginning nor the end.

There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.
~Joseph Addison

6 comments:

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Absolutely lovely post Cheryl. Thanks for the uplift. :)

Gio, Judi and Boys said...

Thank you!

FluffyChicky said...

You are so awesome!

Rebekah said...

Jared and I just barely watched that same Mormon messages video and loved it! Great post.

Stephanie said...

I actually read this post earlier today, and it got me thinking about what I'm MOST thankful for (so thank you for the inspiring words!). I could list all sorts of things, but right now, I am MOST thankful for disposable diapers. I can't imagine life without them!!

m&m said...

Loverly.