Monday, July 28, 2014

[grateful in any circumstance]

That was our Relief Society lesson yesterday.

Grateful in Any Circumstance_President Uchtdorf

I'm going to be totally honest when I say it really touched a raw nerve (or 5!) for me.  I think there are a lot of misconceptions about this topic.  About this attitude of gratitude if you will.

Don't get me wrong.  We do need to be grateful.  And we do need to acknowledge our blessings AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL THINGS.  I'm not saying we shouldn't.

And perhaps my last raw nerve was strung so tightly yesterday that I couldn't appreciate the conversation during the lesson...

I don't know.

What I do know is this: President Uchtdorf counsels us to be grateful in any circumstance.  NOT for every circumstance.  That's a great comfort to me.  I don't HAVE to be grateful that Kenton had leukemia.  I don't HAVE to be grateful that he died (because seriously?!?!?!?).

But what I do HAVE to do is be grateful for the blessings and knowledge that came during and from those circumstances.

Grateful that both Luke and I were given one on one time with each of our children.  Time to focus only on that kiddo.  Time to develop a stronger relationship.  Time to learn about each other.  Time to teach each other.  Time to strengthen our eternal family bonds.

Grateful that our friends stepped up so quickly and with so much energy pulling off the most amazing fundraisers that we did not have to worry about how our bills would be paid, or how we would afford to travel to Salt Lake and back multiple times a week, or how we could have a halfway house for Luke and Kenton to live in post transplant. 

Grateful for the friends that stepped in and each had a "McKayslin day" during the week so she wouldn't be so bored and lonely.

Grateful that our Hyrum 8th ward family took to heart the scripture in Mosiah18:8-9...and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; Yeah, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea and comfort those that stand in need of comfort... and took such good care of our little family in our times of greatest trial.  Grateful for the months of lawn mowing, and garden watering/weeding, and Sparky tending, and meals, and garden picking/preserving.  Grateful for letters and texts and emails and visits and gifts.

Grateful for the staff at Lincoln Elementary, my friends, that so generously provided financial gifts to us at the exact time in which they were needed.

Grateful for our families that prayed, and called, and visited.

Grateful that Grammy took months off of work and spent her summer here as well, helping take care of the kids.  Grateful for the relationship that they developed with her.

Grateful for Kenton's friends, teachers, scout leaders who never left him out and who made a very concentrated effort to include him and let him feel of their love.

Grateful for the hundreds of times our names were put on the prayer rolls of the temple.  We didn't get the miracle we had hoped for, but what we did get was peace.  And strength.  

Grateful for the friends that dropped everything and came to the hospital to visit even when I'd told them I was fine.  Because they knew I wasn't.  I recall most specifically the day in June, a really really hard day for both Kenton and I.  We were both sad and scared.  And lonely.  I'd told several friends that we were doing fine.  Not to worry about us.  I didn't think either of us needed anyone viewing our pity party.  And suddenly, at the window of Kenton's door, we see Heidi-mom, a plate of treats in one hand (which happened to be the treat Kenton was craving that day!), and Knox in his carseat in the other.  She came.  Because she knew we weren't okay.  And she didn't listen to me when I said we were.

Grateful for friends (and sometimes complete strangers!) that generously provided financial support at a time that was so needed.  Grateful for those that wish to remain anonymous that completely paid for Kenton's funeral expenses.  

Grateful to understand and appreciate the power of The Atonement.

Grateful for loving ward and stake leadership that always came when called to give blessings.  And sometimes just showed up to do so because they knew we wouldn't ask.

Grateful for so many things that I know I've failed to mention.

We can, and SHOULD, choose to be grateful in any circumstance. we miss our Kenton. I wish that we could have kept him here on earth. I pray for understanding and peace.  

And still, I find that there are dozens of moments of grateful.

President Uchtdorf said:
We can choose to be like the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, while a prisoner in miserable conditions in Liberty Jail, penned these inspired words: “Dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”

We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.
This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.
When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.

1 comment:

LauraN said...

I agree that while we need to be grateful in all things--I'm not convinced that the scriptures command us to be grateful FOR all things. In fact, I believe that the point at which we confess to God that all of his ways are just will be preceded by a question and answer session in which we get a LOT of explanations.