28 November 2013

"A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness." -Elder James E. Faust

At the end of last year, I made a gratitude jar. It is a simple mason jar, but it is all pinterested-out, andddd it is adorable. Every night, I have taken a piece of paper and written an experience I was grateful for that day. Every Thanksgiving I plan to read those papers, and start all over again until next year. A few of my papers from this last year were humorous, but in my defense, written with serious effort. 

A solid 25% of my papers said something to this extent: I'm grateful today is over. I'm grateful today will never come again. I'm grateful today is one day further away from my past. I'm grateful today is one day closer to my future. But mostly, I'm grateful today is over.

Those words weren't a feeble effort on my part. I genuinely felt, in that moment, that the fact that day was over could very possibly be the only thing I could be grateful for. Looking back, I feel silly saying that. I was living in New Zealand for heaven's sakes. I have the greatest family and friends I could have ever asked for. I have this gospel. I have a Father in heaven and I have a Savior, Whose love for me knows no ends. But, in my defense, I attempted to find something to be grateful for. I tried. And sometimes, that effort is seen by our Father in heaven and I believe, is enough.

This year, what I am most grateful for is this past year. I am grateful for who I have become. I am grateful for who I have become through the grace of my Heavenly Father and Savior. I'm grateful for Their unspeakable and unyielding love. I'm grateful for my family. I'm grateful for my closest friends. I'm grateful for Heidi and our eight years of friendship. I'm grateful for Eva, who is on the other side of the globe but who I feel close to every day. I'm grateful for my grandfather, who is in heaven but so often feels like he is here. I'm grateful for his love and constant support that is so evident, even on the other side of the veil. I'm grateful for my job. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have spiritual experiences every day where I work. How amazing is that? I'm grateful for the men who lead this church. I'm grateful for their wisdom and for the love they have for the members of this church. I'm grateful for each of you. I'm grateful for my testimony. I am grateful for what I have fought through to develop my testimony. I'm grateful for every awful moment that has brought me to today. I am grateful for the air I breathe and the heart I have, that somehow still functions despite the heartbreak. It beats just the same. And I am unbelievably grateful, for all the things in my life that give my heart a reason to keep beating.