The rescuing power of gratitude

“Mercies and blessings come in different forms–sometimes as hard things. Yet the Lord said, ‘Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things’ (D&C 59:7). All things means just that: good things, difficult things–not just some things. He has commanded us to be grateful because He knows being grateful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.”  –Bonnie D. Parkin, “Gratitude: A Path to Happiness,” Ensign, May 2007, 35

I have a problem where I internalize news stories a little too much and get so disturbed that I almost lose my faith in humanity.  (I know, I know, stop reading the news!)  Last night, I went to bed after reading a news item that gnawed at my guts.  Even though it was late and I was very tired, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I felt sad and shocked and discouraged and horrible sympathy and a little anger and, basically, I felt heavy and sick to my stomach.  As I lay there feeling gross, this thought popped into my mind:  Count your blessings.

So I did.  I began deliberately focusing on gratitude— for Matt’s job, our home, warmth, a roof, three sleeping children, good health, the list went on . . .

This exercise literally began to heal me.  I felt a warmth come over me, a sense of peace and well-being, and a little insight into Heavenly Father’s acute awareness of me and people in the news.  And even though I couldn’t make sense of it, I knew it was all okay, and He is in charge, and people are cared for in ways we don’t see or expect or even understand.  My whole body and mind relaxed, and I was able to drift off to sleep.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. . . .

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

What better time than the week of Thanskgiving to reflect on all we’ve been given?  And it’s always a good time to be healed, rescued, and made glad.

(If you haven’t entered in the Adventures with FHE giveaway, there’s still time until Sunday night.)