Two weeks ago in sacrament meeting there was a really good talk on gratitude. The speaker gave an excellent talk, I thought. He relayed a story about how as a young man he was struggling financially with a wife and seven kids to support. He had a really junky Volkswagen as his only means of transportation to and from work and barely enough money to even fill up the tank with gasoline. Anyway, he was driving to work one day when he smelled smoke. Somehow his backseat had caught on fire. He stopped the car and quickly grabbed his briefcase and watched helplessly, along with a policeman who had stopped, as his car was engulfed in flames. A bus driver came along and attempted to use her fire extinguisher to put out the fire, but the extinguisher malfunctioned. The man’s car was destroyed and because he was so strapped for cash, he didn’t even have good enough insurance to cover the cost. He said he sat on the curb close to tears. Of course, he was worried about how this would affect his wife and seven kids. As he sat at their kitchen table that night, feeling devastated by the day’s events, his wife grabbed his hand and asked, “Where are you?” “Home,” he replied, rather puzzled. “And where are your kids?” “In bed,” he said, still confused. “And who’s next to you?” “You,” he replied. She squeezed his hand and said, “Now isn’t that a lot to be thankful for?” He said it really put things into perspective for him.
He also relayed a story about a friend whose husband had left her, and just as she was getting her life back on track, she was injured in a serious car wreck which has left her comatose to this day. But instead of being bitter and feeling sorry for themselves, her family is thankful that she is doing well physically and that the doctors are so good with her, and this woman’s family was more concerned about the well-being of this speaker, who has cancer, than they are with being preoccupied with self-pity. It’s a good lesson.
All in all, I felt that in spite of the simplicity of the lesson in this man's talk, it was a good lesson to be reminded of. It's easy to feel sorry for oneself and lose track of the manny blessings one has.
I know I have so much to be grateful for. In spite of challenges or difficulties, I have felt so blessed throughout my life, and I have felt especially blessed these past few years.