One of my really good friends just wrote a phenomenal blog post about gratitude and all of the things he is grateful for. Reading it really reminded me of all of the many things that I have to be grateful for both big and small that so often go unsaid.
Perhaps above all, I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for a myriad of experience that have stretched me, shaped me, molded me and helped me become the person I am today. I know that I still have a long way to go as well and many more stretching and shaping experiences to go.
In the six years since I learned about the Church, I feel like I have had enough experiences with both highs and lows to fill a whole lifetime. The euphoria I felt when I first gained a testimony, the agony I felt as I deliberated how to tell my father about my decision to be baptized, the cleansing peace I felt upon baptism, the tortured months trying to decide whether to serve a mission, the incredible love I felt for those I taught as a missionary and the pain I felt when they choose not to accept the gospel, the joy of falling in love and getting married, the rush of law school, and the incredible bliss of being a father have all been compressed into a rather short period of time.
Being married and becoming a parent have both been stretching experiences for me as well. Being married means getting to experience all of those highs and lows with someone else. It means always having someone there to listen, but also always someone there who you can blame or get frustrated at. Marriage is a crucible which I think brings out all ones traits both good and bad in a very sharp and discreet fashion.
Being a father likewise is stretching in so many ways. It is so incredible to look on your child and to know that she is completely dependent on you for guidance and protection. Seeing her get hurt is truly heart breaking. Being a father has helped me better understand God and also see my own inadequacies; when I am unkind or easily angered or impatient, I worry about the example I will be setting for her. I have several close friends who are currently struggling with infertility, and I feel so incredibly blessed to have a daughter at this time. I don’t know why my wife and I were able to have children right now while others cannot. All I know is that I needed and need daily the stretching experiences that come from fatherhood. I feel inadequate at times, but I am so grateful to heavenly father for entrusting her to us.
I am grateful for those many experiences that have shaped me. I think I struggle sometime to know what to do in the less action packed moments when everything seems fine. I struggle with too much peace and serenity. I get a foreboding sense that things cannot remain so for long. Yet, just as I am grateful for the stretching moments, I know that I need to learn how to appreciate the moments of calm. I need to simply fully enjoy the many blessings that I have. One constant in life is things always do change, but I can make the most of the circumstances that I have been currently given.
I am grateful for Thanksgiving and the opportunity on this holiday to reflect and to remember all that I truly do have to be grateful for.