Thursday, May 20, 2010

Be Grateful

I had the wonderful chance of meeting the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. Steve and I were at game 3 of the Jazz/Lakers series. As we were sitting in our seats waiting for the game to start, we hear someone say, "win, win, WIN!" We were surprised to turn around and see President Monson walking into the suite with a big smile on his face. With such a close game, most everyone there was glued to all the action on the court. At half time I was up getting ice cream when President Monson got up to stretch his legs. He smiled and shook my hand. I looked into his eyes and said, "I just want to say thank you." He looked at me with questioning eyes and replied, "for what?" I was shocked by his response, in my head I was thinking, for everything; your wonderful talks, leading the church, being a special witness of Christ, where do I start? I simply said to him, "for everything." I didn't know how to express how much gratitude I had for the countless hours he devotes to the church. The many trips he must travel to lead the Lord's church. For absolutely everything he does for me, someone he doesn't even know, whose life he had blessed in different ways I can't even start to list all the comfort and counsel he has given me in talks. After I said those two simple words, he just smiled, waved his hand in such a humble way, like you don't need to thank me, I haven't done anything special. We both went back to watching the game and he quietly left after the missed shot at the end of the game. I have thought how wonderful it was that I had a chance to personally thank the Prophet for all he does. I know how lost and miserable my life would be without a living prophet in my life.

I have been thinking a lot about being grateful and having a positive attitude and how these two principals go together. People who tend to be grateful, tend to look at the positive side of things. Is it possible to be thankful for trials? Absolutely! Here are two different accounts of the same situation found in 1 Nephi 17. First here is Nephi's account:
And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.
And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.
And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness.
And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.
And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore; and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit.
Now here is what Laman and Lemuel had to say:
And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy.

See the difference? When we go through difficult times, do we blame our loving Heavenly Father? Do we look for those around us to blame? Or do we look at how we have we are given a chance to grow? Do we look at what can we learn from this situation? I often think of Rob's response to being told he had stage 4 cancer:
It reminds me one of my favorite stories in 3rd Nephi. The righteous people have been awaiting the miracle of the Savior's birth. They waited "steadfastly​" without a murmur. The night was now at hand, the Saviour was to be born that very next day or they would be put to death. How does one handle that? What do you tell your children that evening you prepare for bed? Do you beg for your life and that of your love ones?
As Nephi prayed for his people he heard The Lord tell him to "Lift up his head and be of good cheer...on the morrow come I into the world." I doubt sweeter words had ever been uttered to Nephi! What an answer to a simply heart felt prayer. Never did he ask for what to do, or can Thou change this or that. Simply, please help us know what to do.
As I look at my family and where we go from here I think those simple things. What does The Lord need us to learn? Are we willing to do it?
I love you all,
I wouldn't say we were grateful for the cancer. But this I do know; I would not know how to rely on the Lord with going through this trial. I would not know power of the scriptures, prayer, fasting and service. I would not know how many people cared so much for us, willing to make enormous sacrifices to help our family. I didn't know how much my faith and dependence on the Lord would grow. I am thankful for so much. I feel so abundantly blessed, actually I know I am so abundantly blessed. I have received blessing from the Lord, through so many people, they can't be named. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Remember to count your blessings name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God hath done.


coxdeedee said...

Thanks for writing Patti. It was the usual, beautiful and certainly made me think of my blessings. Love you.

Butters said...

I needed this Patti. I am facing something far beyond what I think I have strength for, but I do know that by the way I look at things will truly make the difference. Thank you for being you!