Week 19 in the Utah Ogden Mission
Our children are in Newbury Park, California visiting their friends this weekend. Watching the four of them get on that plane without us was sobering. In just 9 years, Amy and I will be "empty-nesters." I asked myself the question on the way out of the airport, "Am I doing all I can to be the best husband and father I can in the time that I have with my family?" My recent experience counseling missionaries who have lost loved ones to death led me to the following scripture in D&C 29:43 "And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation--that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;"
What are we doing with our days here upon this earth? I marvel at the young men and women and senior couples who take 2 years or 18 months out of their lives to serve full time missions for the LDS Church. They labor during their tender years of life and learn how to love. They learn that no matter who they come across, (and they come across a wild variety of people) that they are all children of Heavenly Parents and as such have a capacity for the infinite and eternal. The missionaries teach about the capacity of their brothers and sisters. They teach that they have a Savior, that God has a plan for them and that they can recognize Gods hand in their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Many receive that message with gladness. Many do not.
Those that receive the gospel express deep gratitude towards God and the missionaries who taught them. Their gratitude has also caused me to pause and reflect on the spirit of gratitude. I have determined to study the virtue of gratitude in depth. Cicero said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others."
Some scriptures that cause me to pause and think on the commandment to be grateful include...
“Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things."
“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.”
“live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which [God] doth bestow upon you.”
President Thomas S. Monson said, "Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings."
Universities have studied gratitude and have found that those who either 1) write a note of thanks to someone daily or 2) write 5 things they are grateful for in a journal daily are more productive citizens, have more fruitful relationships, earn more money, experience more peace and happiness over time etc.
My prayer is that we will be grateful and express it frequently to our maker and to each other. That we will love our children, parents and siblings more deeply and fully. Love = time. I hope we will forgive and experience forgiveness.
We love the Lord. We love serving him full time. We thank all for their support and prayers while we serve.