Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Divine Gift of Gratitude

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

The Divine Gift of Gratitude, by Thomas S. Monson
President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I've been bubbling with excitement all day today! While there are some disadvantages to being a college student, one of the perks is Spring Break. As a family man, I get to spend a week with my amazing wife and hilarious children! Life couldn't be any better.

It was with this everything-is-hunky-dory attitude that I read President Monson's talk on gratitude. You might say I was definitely in a glass-is-half-full mood. When I read "We have all experienced times when our focus is on what we lack rather than on our blessings," I remembered such times and thought of the other points of view that we can sometimes have; perhaps you can relate to one of the following:

If you happen to be in a glass-is-half-empty mood, perhaps the following words of President Monson will help:

Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.

This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.

Besides being a cute rhyme, an attitude of gratitude is something worth striving to cultivate. Sharing a quote from President Joseph F. Smith, President Monson summarized: "A prayerful life is the key to possessing gratitude."

You may be familiar with the hymn, "Did You Think to Pray?" (link). The message of this hymn is that prayer can remind us of better things and comfort our hearts. However, you may have also noticed that the focus is on when times are tough; what about the hunky-dory times?

During a lesson she substitute-taught in Sunday School, my friend shared an additional verse she had composed just an hour before (during sacrament meeting). I think you'll like it (thanks, Kami!):

When your heart was filled with gladness,
Did you think to pray?
When your life was full of blessing,
Psalms thanksgiving were you sending
Showing thanks that day?

Oh how praying lifts the cheery!
Prayer shows gratitude that day.
So when life's NOT dark and dreary,
Don't forget to pray.

Whether the glass is half-empty or half-full (or any of the other variants), I want to live with an attitude of gratitude!

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.

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