It’s hospital Day 18 for Daughter-A. She will be spending tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday in her wheelchair looking at the same walls and halls of the Neuro Rehab unit she’s looked at for the past two weeks. It’s been exactly 3 weeks today that she suddenly lost the use of her legs. Since Monday of this week she has also lost the use of one arm. If I were a perfect saint I’d probably feel perfectly at peace with this situation. However, being a regular [very flawed and often spoiled bratty] human being, I’m finding it pretty hard to feel either festive or grateful today. I know things could be so much worse. I still have so much to be thankful for. I’ve been spending a lot of time on my knees talking to God about this, trying to reconcile myself to His will.
“…humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” – Alma 34:38
Daughter-A, on the other hand, is about as close to being a saint as someone can get. So, she keeps a remarkably positive perspective. She’s accepted that this is her trial and that God is [literally and symbolically] walking with her through it. She continually points out all of her blessings – thankful for a good book she is enjoying reading, her favorite nurse being on shift for the holiday, a new PT she really likes, her view of the beautiful mountains out her window, friends texting & visiting, her Aunt CJ going out of her way to stop by to chat and bring her a stuffed toy panda bear (“because you’re never too old for a bear to keep you company!”)…and on her gratitude list goes. She is prayerful and humble, kind and patient. When people come to cheer her up, they leave realizing she has cheered them up more.
“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” (D&C 59:7)
On April 2, 1994 Elder Robert D. Hales was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today I am sharing a video of Elder Hales speaking to us about ‘Living in Thanksgiving daily’ from a talk he gave in 1992 while then serving as Presiding Bishop of the Church. His sermon feels particularly meaningful for me right now. I hope it may also bring comfort and enlightenment to you.
“Gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike. Gratitude expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have brings a calming peace. A peace which allows us not to canker our souls for what we don’t have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past, or desire in the future.”
– Elder Hales, Gratitude for the Goodness of God, 1992