The power of gratitude

One of the greatest blessings in my life was to be born into the family I was born into. I had the extra advantage of being the youngest, catching on at a young age that I could watch my older siblings and learn what to do and what not to do. This has been a real advantage that I am grateful for. One of the greatest examples I have received is from my oldest sister, Brenda. Brenda was like a second mom to me, making sure I knew what I needed to know to help me in my life.  I appreciated that she would let me into her room and give me the old makeup and jewelry she didn’t want any more. I felt loved because of the notes she left on my mirror before I went on dates, telling me to “remember who I was” and act accordingly. She set a great example for me of not studying on Sunday, sharing with me the blessings that come from keeping this and other commandments. Although I have learned many things from her, the greatest and last lesson I learned from her was the power of gratitude. As defined in one of my most often used reference books (Strong’s Concordance of the Bible – I like the Greek and Hebrew meanings I find there), gratitude is the “divine influence of the heart.” This helps me understand why Brenda was able to be so full of gratitude in the midst of intense suffering as she fought ovarian cancer. This great example was set for me a few years ago, but it wasn’t until this past year that I applied it in my own life. I have always been grateful for a lot of things, but thanks to Brenda’s example and some lessons learned this year, I have discovered a power in gratitude that I hadn’t personally tapped into before. (I need to give credit where credit is due.  The following explanation that made so much sense to me comes from Kevin Clayson. He is in the process of writing a book about “Showing up on the Front Seat” and my husband and I had the privilege of his being our personal coach last year). What I learned from Kevin is that life is kind of like a pendulum swinging back and forth. The problem that so many of us have is that we get stuck on the negative side of things. There is a force that catapults us back to the positive side, and that force is gratitude. The amazing thing is that the more difficult and negative the experience is, the more power there is behind turning our thoughts to gratitude. I have tried this and found this to be absolutely true. When I am struggling because of silly mistakes made, or really huge trials, if I start focusing on what I am grateful for, my entire world changes from dark to light. I am able to see the good in the experience and the lessons that can be learned from it. As was referenced in the Greek translation, I feel a divine influence in my heart. This also helps me understand why being ungrateful is one of the few things listed that makes God angry. He knows how essential gratitude is in keeping us moving forward. Brenda illustrated perfectly the power of gratitude in helping her endure to the end. With her example and Kevin’s illustration, I have been able to switch my own negative thoughts into grateful thoughts, making me a much happier person as well as opening up myself to receiving even more “divine guidance” in the process, for which I’m extremely grateful.

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