Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Perspective


by Stephanie Abney

The task of writing a blog for Thanksgiving Day is rather daunting. There is so much to be thankful for, even in these difficult times. I’ve seen countless people step up to help those who have been hard hit by the financial downslide our country is experiencing and it touches my heart. In my own life the Lord has so richly blessed me with a wonderful heritage, a loving husband and sweet, dear children and grandchildren and His eternal plan of happiness. There are the blessings of friends, a great ward and a close and comfortable neighborhood. My husband and I both have good and meaningful jobs. The list goes on and on so I thought I would share a couple of things that have happened lately that I am grateful for.

Last Sunday our RS president gave a wonderful lesson and shared some Thanksgiving traditions in their family. One was a featherless (magnetic) turkey that hung on their fridge and the colorful (magnetic) feathers that they added as each one expressed something they were thankful for. Then she put the turkey up on the white board and said the sisters could come up and say something they were thankful for and she would add a feather to the turkey. We got many of the typical (albeit marvelous) blessings that people say about family, friends, home, church, etc. and I threw in my gratitude for the electronic advancements of the computer and Internet which allows me to keep in touch instantly with dear friends and family members via email and blogs.

Then a sweet sister came up. I have known and loved her mother for nearly 30 years (quite the mentor ~ fabulous scripturian with such insight) and this daughter has been the source of considerable heartache for her over the years although I never knew any details. Then one day, about a year ago, the daughter started coming to church with her mom and even coming when her mom (who is getting on in years) couldn’t make it. She has the same clear understanding of the scriptures as her mother and I always enjoy her comments. I’ve tried to speak to her each week and tell her how nice it is to see her. She stood at the front of the room and in tears said how thankful she was for forgiveness and the atonement allowing someone like her to come back to church after 25 years and feel so welcome. That pretty much says it all… what greater gift could we have gotten from our Father, than the opportunity to come back into His presence even if we have gotten off the path from time to time. I’m also thankful for this sweet blessing.

The other thing that I keep remembering is the gift of “perspective.” I was going to use this experience for its own blog but I think it goes here quite nicely. It is so easy to see why only the Lord can judge because only He has the proper and complete perspective of what is REALLY going on in someone’s life. Case in point: I went to the Desert Rose RWA writer’s conference a couple of Saturdays ago and in the second break-out group I attended I could hear this very annoying tapping coming from the row behind me. I quickly glanced over my shoulder and spotted the woman tapping. When I saw the source of the noise, my feelings about it changed instantly. In fact, as the class went on and I heard the tapping, it made me smile and brought me such a peaceful, comforting feeling. There were two women on the front row, directly in front of her (but she was several rows behind them) and when they tried to turn around to see the source of this annoying tapping, they could not see her at all. I watched them as they whispered back and forth to each other, wondering how anyone could be so rude and they were so distracted by it that I doubt if they got much out of the session.

Why did the tapping cease to bother me? Because when I looked over my shoulder I saw that the woman was blind and she had a brail slate and stylus and was taking notes. That tiny revelation changed my feelings about the noise instantly. I was very thankful that I was able to see her and I truly found the sound of this sweet blind daughter of God taking notes along with the rest of us to be very touching.

I think perspective is a blessing that we should remember throughout our lives. We have no idea why someone does what they do, what brought them to that point or what their life experiences have been giving them their particular perspective and motivation so how can we ever completely understand their actions? What we can do, is completely love them as the Lord loves us. So, I leave you my dear friends with the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless Us, Every One!” AND HE DOES!!!!!

3 comments:

  1. I love your example of perspective, Stephanie. I have had similar experiences that have taught me to be slow to judge. I'm not always quick to remember them, but I am grateful for the lessons of humility I learn as a result. Perspective is amazing, isn't it! Thanks for your beautiful perspective, Stephanie! you are awesome.

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  2. Thank you for the notes on perspective. It definately makes all the difference. I find that in my nursing career I can have learned all about a disease, and know how to treat the symptoms, but really understanding what that particular patient is experiencing doesn't happen unless I too have suffered that disease in the exact same circumstances. Thankfully I have never done that and so I try to be as compassionate and empathetic as possible while giving the necessary care and or instructions.

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  3. What a wonderful example of how that noise was something really beautiful and just knowing the perspective changed it all. One of my earthly goals is to gain Heavenly Father's perspective. He too would have noticed and enjoyed the "noise."

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