A few weeks ago it hit me that we were coming up on the eight year mark of my late husband and father-in-law's death. I was already feeling discouraged about all that has been going on in our country, so as I thought about the past eight years and all that has happened, the milestones passed as a single parent, the melancholy set in. I found myself feeling deeply saddened and I couldn’t sleep. After praying for a while, I felt prompted to get up and read some of Scott’s journal entries. At one in the morning, in my jammies on my closet floor, I thumbed through the bookmarked entries. As I read page after page, I was struck with Scott’s attitude of gratitude. Entry after entry was full of expressions of gratitude for his family, for the gospel of Jesus Christ, for his job, and for the time he had to spend with us. Surrounding those expressions of gratitude were small mentions of challenges, but they did not overshadow his thoughts. I crawled back in bed with a renewed desire to be more grateful. Dave was fast asleep, and I was struck that I had been blessed with another husband with a similar sunny disposition. Someone who also sees the glass half full.
If we want, we can see a lot of bad in this world; we can see bad in our lives. We can become overwhelmed and crippled by the challenges. We can count the ever mounting losses and feel that some how we have been overlooked in the blessing department.... or.... we can choose to see the good. We can choose to focus on the small ways God helps us through the struggles. We can choose to be changed for the better by the things we suffer.
As I think about this day 8 years ago, I choose not to focus on the accident. Instead, I am remembering the beautiful experience I had walking with my children on the Galloway trail...
The sun was going down and a beautiful amber glow surrounded us. Alex and Rachel were skipping ahead hand in hand. Cooper had his arm around Eric and they were joking about something. I found myself stepping back and taking the scene in. An amazing feeling of love washed over me. I found myself thinking, "I'm so lucky! I have kids who want to be with me and with each other on a Saturday night... Scott is coming home... My life is perfect." As I just relished that beautiful moment another thought came into my mind. It was quiet and peaceful and didn't disturb the moment. "If something happens to Scott, this will be enough, you could still be happy."
God gave me a gift 8 years ago...
Today as I think about that 38 year old mom, I see her walking with two angels. Their arms are around her and they are leaning in, whispering reassurances, knowing the difficulties that are to come. Their words and that experience still impact me today. It lets me know that God and heaven are mindful of me. Today I choose to see the beauty in that moment and to relive the overwhelming feeling of love that surrounded me.
As I choose what to focus on today, I choose to be grateful for the light in my life that has become apparent because of the shadows...
- Today I am grateful for children who have remained strong and faithful, who have more empathy than they would have without loss in their lives, and who set an example for me everyday of moving forward and doing good with their lives.
- I’m grateful for the preparations Scott and I made, how we listened to promptings and how those decisions have made this time easier for me.
- I’m grateful for beautiful friends who have suffered and for the closeness we have shared through our suffering.
- I’m grateful for heaven and for angels and how my eyes have been opened to their influence in my life.
- I’m grateful for family that has supported and cried with me, who have cheered me on and encouraged me to keep getting up.
- I’m grateful for inspiration that has guided and directed me in this new journey.
- I’m grateful for a second husband who helps me bear my burdens and who teaches me about generosity.
- I’m grateful for the years I’ve had to teach seminary, for those students who still reach out to me and for the positive impact we have made in each other’s lives.
- I’m grateful for individuals who have listened to promptings and who have reached out to me in times of need.
- I’m grateful for Scott and Patrick’s examples in my lives. For how they have changed me for the better.
- I’m grateful for the covenants I have made with Christ, for how keeping those covenants draws me closer to Him and helps me become more like Him.
- I’m grateful for good people in this world, who in their own quiet ways try to lift others and made a positive difference.
- I’m grateful for the times I have been healthy and for the times I have been ill because those times make me better appreciate the wonderful gift of a healthy body.
What are you grateful for today?