I knew the answer to that question….they were all in the house. Why weren’t they helping me? The answer to this question was not so simple but the outcome was. For whatever reason, they simply failed to help me and I simply failed to make them. I vacillated between being angry at them and being angry at me as I hacked at branches, six feet up in my tree. I was not happy.
Dr. Stokes noticed that Miles’ had a slight spine curvature and ordered x-rays at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. Word came back that he needed to see a specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. ARG! In my over-full and under-funded life, finding time to drive to SLC for an appointment with a specialist and finding money to pay for that appointment with a specialist are no simple tasks. Grudgingly, I made it happen.
At Primary Children’s Medical Center a technician (NOT the specialist with whom we’d made the appointment), called us into the examination room, said that she had looked at the x-rays that were taken in Ogden and told us that his curvature was within the normal range. We were free to go home.
I exited fuming. Why did I have to drive to SLC? The x-rays taken in Ogden were clearly transported to SLC electronically, why couldn’t the information that his curvature was not serious be transported electronically as well? Seriously folks! No wonder people complain about the medical system in America! I was not happy.
Resentfully, I accepted a job working part time for Utah Electronic High School (EHS). Already, working 2/3 time for OPA, I struggle to find time for all the things I think need to be done. How will I fit another obligation into my schedule? I am tired, SO TIRED, of always feeling rushed, of always feeling the pressure that accompanies pressing obligations. A minute or two of spare time once in a while would be so nice. Instead I signed up for more work. I was not happy.
They (Who is “they”? Lots of people…..Google it!) say the key to happiness is gratitude. Late, but not too late, I re-examined my experiences through a gratitude lens….and was astounded at the difference it made.
In my fiftieth year, I can still climb trees! This is no small miracle. While up in the tree, I see five lambs and three ewes grazing in my pasture. FIVE lambs! Last year only one lamb lived and the year before none of the lambs survived. In MY pasture! Oh my lands, we have LAND, land for a pasture, land for a garden, and land for an apricot tree! I felt immensely grateful for our lambs, our land, and the ability to labor in a tree…. I was happy.
Miles does not have a significant spine curvature. What fabulous news! He is spared the pain, awkwardness, and embarrassment that spinal corrections would require and I am spared the accompanying expense. Gratitude for my active, healthy little boy filled my heart…..and I was happy.
We had been praying for help financially when Kathy Webb called to offer me the EHS job. What a blessing the job will be! Earning about three times Utah’s minimum wage, I will be able to help pay for Chick’s mission and the family’s medical bills without leaving my home. Imagine the bondage we’d experience and the tremendous, ever-present stress I’d feel if our financial outlook did not change…. Oh God, thank you for answering our prayers! Gratitude for my gracious God fills my heart…..and I am happy.
The key works!!! Using the gratitude key opened my happiness door. In fact, it opened my happiness flood gate. WHOOSH!!! Gratitude washes unhappiness away and leaves, in its wake, sediments/sentiments of joy. I am happy about big blessings, like my husband (big being a reference the size of the blessing, not the size of my husband) and little blessings, like a pen that works when I am signing a check. And I am happy about blessings that lie between big and little, things like the taste of fresh blueberries (blueberries again!), a daughter who says “Mom, you are beautiful”, neighbors who cherish my children, and a million (or so) other things for which I can be grateful.
The key will work for you too.
Here are some gratitude quotes for which I am grateful….. J
“Everyone’s situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.
We can be grateful!” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, May 2014
“Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.
Said the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” 5
My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.
Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.” President Thomas S. Monson
Some murmur when the sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue:
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.
“If the only prayer you ever said was ‘Thank you,’ that would be enough.” – Meister Ekhart
“There is no duty so under-rated as the duty of being happy. By being happy and grateful, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
“One of the very first things I figured out about life…is that it’s better to be a grateful person than a grumpy one, because you have to live in the same world either way, and if you’re grateful, you have more fun.”—Barbara Kingsolver
I’m convinced that living in a state of gratitude is THE key to happiness. Sam Horn
Because gratitude is the key to happiness, anything that undermines gratitude must undermine happiness. And nothing undermines gratitude as much as expectations. There is an inverse relationship between expectations and gratitude: The more expectations you have, the less gratitude you will have.” Dennis Prager
Happiness is not getting what you want, it’s appreciating what you have. Gratitude is the key to happiness. -Michael Josephson
God needs no worship, no praise, no thanksgiving. It is man himself
who needs the benefit to be derived from these activities.
— Paul Brunton (1898-1981), Notebooks of Paul Brunton: Perspectives (1984), p. 224
Look how the smaller birds greet the sun, with so much merry chirruping
and so much outpouring of song! It is their way of expressing worship for
the only Light they can know, an outer one. But man can also know the inner Sun,
the Light of the Overself. How much more reason has he to chirp and sing than
the little birds! Yet how few man feel gratitude for such privilege.
— Paul Brunton (1898-1981), Notebooks of Paul Brunton: Perspectives (1984), p. 225
The best way to show my gratitude to God is
to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.
— Mother Teresa (1910-1997)
Gratefulness makes us aware of the gift and makes us happy. As long
as we take things for granted they don't make us happy. Gratefulness is
the key to happiness. Practicing gratitude is so central to my spirituality.
— David Steindl-Rast (b. 1926), Sacred Journey (October 2001)
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes (NOT a gratitude quote but one I love nonetheless.)