And then, over Spring Break (yes, it was two weeks ago, but let's not have a guilt trip over that), something happened. It was Tuesday night, I was walking from my office to the car. The wind was blowing the snow--yes, you read that correctly, SNOW--horizontally, so I had to hold my umbrella perpendicular to my body just so I could see. And in my mind I was grumbling about how it's supposed to be spring break and why on earth is it even snowing, grumble-grumble-grumble.
I settled into my car, turned on the engine, and what was it that I heard? The amazing German-accented advice from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that he gave in the Sunday morning session of General Conference this past April. I've taken to listening to recordings of General Conference during my commute because I find things that are not only useful for my early-morning seminary classes, but there's so much there that helps me just be a better person.
Anyway, President Uchtdorf said:
"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."
And that got me thinking. I have so much to be grateful for, even when it might not look like I should be thankful for those things:
- I'm grateful that I'm tired. I'm tired because I have a job that I enjoy and I get to spend every school morning with some of the most amazing teenagers you'll ever meet. Yes, I'm exhausted sometimes, but it's worth it.
- I'm grateful that children poke me and wake me up from my nap on the couch to say good-bye before they go to school in the morning.
- I'm grateful for my sweet daughter who covers me with her blanket while taking said naps so that I won't be cold.
- I'm grateful for my oldest daughter and the high-school attitude she cops with us sometimes, because it shows me that she's starting to grow into an independent young woman.
- I'm grateful for a wife who complains about my sometimes difficult work schedule, because it means she is concerned about my health and wants to spend time me. It means so much that she lets me sleep in on Sunday mornings.
- I'm also grateful that she doesn't complain when I tell her I'm going for a three-hour run on a Saturday.
- I'm grateful for those days, like yesterday, when it rains so hard that you can hardly see out the window, because it means we're getting water for the beautiful trees and flowers that make Virginia so awesome (apologies to my wife and others who suffer from allergies!).
- I'm grateful for those phone calls from my in-laws that come at sometimes awkward times of the day, because it means they're thinking about our family and they want to talk to us.
- I'm grateful for indoor plumbing. Not that it's a burden, I'm just constantly grateful for it.
So many other things to be grateful for, but hopefully I can always remember to be grateful, regardless of my situation. Even if I do have to remember to do so with a slight German accent.