by Kari Diane Pike
"Jenny" sat quietly during the Relief Society lesson being taught by a vibrant young mother, "Natalie". The light of the Spirit filled the room and Jenny could not help but be amazed at the talent and wisdom that radiated from Natalie. Jenny thought, "I remember being her age and admiring the qualities of so many older women and thinking how someday I wanted to become just like them. Now I am one of those older sisters --and I want to be just like Natalie--I really missed the boat!" The light in Jenny's eyes dimmed with unshed tears and her shoulders sagged under the weight of her feelings of inadequacy. She took a deep breath and tried to feel the joy of the lesson being taught, but a splinter of despair remained lodged in her heart.
After church, Jenny returned home with her family and busied herself preparing a meal and tidying up for a visit from a dear friend. Two years had gone by since "Claudia" lost her husband to cancer and the women had not seen each other since the funeral. Jenny loved Claudia and missed the chats they used to have about everything from gardening and parenting to economics and literature. When Claudia arrived, the two women grabbed each other in tight hugs. In a few brief moments Jenny felt as if the years had melted away. They laughed and cried and talked for nearly three hours. Claudia reluctantly stood up to leave, hesitated a moment, then sat back down.
"Jenny, I have to tell you something. I have to tell you what I love about you. As a young convert, I felt like I had to do everything I could to catch up with all the rest of the women in the church. I wanted to do all the things I saw you doing. But you are a hundred talent person and I am a five talent person. You can do everything, many of them at the same time. I have never had that ability. I had to learn it is okay to be who I am and go the pace that I was created for. The thing I love about you is that while you are a hundred talent person, you never made me feel less than you. You treat everyone else as if they are a hundred talent person just like you. Your greatest talent is that you love everyone, no matter where they are in life."
Jenny felt Claudia's words pull the splinter out of her heart and the divine power of gratitude close the wound. The two friends parted with tearful hugs and promises of more frequent visits.
In yoga class today, the teacher asked us to ponder on the question of "When is enough, enough?" She pointed out how often we set a goal and then when we reach it, we rush on to set and achieve another goal without stopping to be still and be grateful. LeAnne said,
"Think about it. What would happen if we stopped trying to be amazing all of the time and took more time to be still and be amazed at everything around us?"
President Thomas S. Monson shared his thoughts about "The Divine Gift of Gratitude" in April's General Conference. He taught about the importance of recognizing and acknowledging blessings rather than seeing only the lack of something in our lives. He pointed out that the Savior expressed gratitude and then miracles happened. He left us this powerful message:
"My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."
Thank you for being my friends. Keep on writing...and be amazed!