I keep wondering why I am “using up” a perfectly good Thanksgiving post idea on a miscellaneous day at the end of July. Maybe it is because any day—winter, spring, summer or fall is made astronomically better if I am in gratitude. Gratitude is a quality we cannot put off until Thanksgiving!
Gratitude — We all know it’s good for us. We all know we should feel it. We all have plenty to be grateful for. So what’s the problem?
I distinctly remember sitting in an addiction recovery meeting on a Saturday morning when a fellow come in late and sat by the door. He took off his big motorcycle helmet and set it on the seat next to him. When it came his turn to share, he began with these words: “I am in gratitude today.”
He never did rattle of a list of the things he was grateful for. He just proceeded to share about how his recovery was coming along. As he shared, my mind would not let go of the concept of being in gratitude. He talked about it like it was some kind of a place on the map with a street address and a front porch. As he shared I realized that this place called Gratitude was a home inside himself.
I loved what I learned from his simple statement, and I have thought of it often. It has helped me recognize that some moments I am in Gratitude and some moments I am not. What is it that makes me so quickly pack up my bags, and walk out of Gratitude’s front door?
I suppose there are many reasons, and I am not going to explore them all right now, but recently I was reminded of one reason by a spontaneous question from my five-year-old granddaughter, Hattie. It was early evening and my daughter and I were preparing dinner. The sun was on its way down, and as Hattie pranced through the house, Mandy asked her to go get herself ready for bed with this promise “Daddy will be home soon, and he has a surprise for you!”
Hattie’s immediate response–”Is it a puppy or a trampoline?”
“Wow” I thought. “There’s a high expectation!
I don’t remember how it went when Daddy came home. What I remember was that the Lord used the moment to teach me a little something about myself. You know Nannette, you’re like little Hattie sometimes. Someday I just might bring your version of “a puppy or a trampoline,” but for now, let go of your expectations. Allow yourself to be full of anticipation and recognition and appreciation. Just be in Gratitude.
Maybe the reason the things children say are so instructive to me is that I am still a little girl—Heavenly Father’s little girl. I suppose not one of God’s kids, including me and Hattie, can help desiring this blessing or that. But, if my particular desire is my focus, then I find myself in and out of gratitude ten times a day. I think it must be best to simply live with an eye for what my “Daddy” does bring to me—puppy or trampoline or not. It’s one of things that being in gratitude requires.
“Perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count… Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be.” — Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf