by Kari Diane Pike
A tangled garland of emerald green and "Tardis" blue ribbon trails across the bed in the spare room - the last vestige of the mountain of wedding decorations that once spilled out the door and took over the living room and kitchen. Plastic bins filled with laundered chair covers, table cloths, sashes and table-runners rest in the back of my van, and wait their turn to be reunited with their rightful owners. Another bin of book page flowers and silk carnations sits in the corner until I find the courage to shut it behind closet doors.
As I untangle the knotted ribbons, memories dance around me - their ghost-like images accompanied by the echoes of my daughter's giggles, cheering at soccer games, screams of delight during epic rounds of hand-and-foot and Risk, her father's laughter as he holds her in each of her three white dresses, and whispers of "I'll love you forever, all the way around the world and back again to infinity and beyond."
I expected to feel the after-wedding-let-down, but I wasn't prepared for this emotional flood. I didn't know it would be so difficult breathe. I didn't know it would be a challenge to get up in the morning to the quiet of just three of us in the house. The thought that in less than a year, my once crowded, noisy, happy, cranky, spirited, cluttered, peanut-butter-and-jam-smeared, joyful nest will be empty of all but myself and my eternal companion triggers memories of nearly drowning.
From my journal: I realize that part of my problem is that I don't have a specific goal or plan in mind. Another challenge is my tendency to "borrow a jack" - or in other words - worry and fret about things that haven't happened yet, and most likely won't ever happen. Too often I let those concerns stop me from moving forward. The thing is - I know the path I want to be on - and I am on it. I have a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As long as I stay true to my covenants and remain steadfast in Christ - everything will turn out okay. If I want to write a book, I can write a book. If I want to sell _______, I can sell ________. I just need to do it prayerfully and listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Lehi saw in his vision (1 Nephi 8:21) that people all over the world are searching for the sweet fruit of the gospel. I have the opportunity to help share that message through my editing for Gospel Ideals International. D&C 123:12 teaches that many people are searching for truth and are deceived because they don't know where to look. I can help them find it! It's time to buckle down and devote time to writing, to editing and to family history.
Then I came across this quote: "Thankfulness is measured by words. Gratitude is measured by the nature of our actions." ~David O. McKay
Part of my dilemma as an almost empty-nester is whether or not I need to find employment outside of my home or start a business or....maybe, possibly, use my time to write the things of my heart. My priority is to strengthen home and family and keep my covenants and serve the Lord. I've been promised through priesthood blessings that as long as I stay true to my covenants, there will be enough and to spare in my home. The Scriptures teach me that the Lord knows all things from the beginning. He prepares me and prepares the way to accomplish "all his works among the children of men." If the Lord guides me to make writing my "business", He will help me.
The Lord has given me many gifts and while I can verbally thank Him in my prayers, I don't really show gratitude until I use those gifts to praise and honor Him. True conversion comes through the Holy Ghost and is demonstrated through "doing" and "becoming." Gratitude is shown through respect and care and proper use of the gift. I can show gratitude for my physical body by caring for it properly, for my family and friends by serving them and for the gospel by sharing its divine message with others. Gratitude, like forgiveness, is a spiritual gift - a gift available to all who seek it.
My gratitude for God's gifts - particularly the gift of His Son - and my desire to share this message is a gift. It is a good gift and since all good gifts come from God (James 1:17), I have my answer. Write. Serve God through writing and song. Use these gifts to serve and strengthen my family and others.By doing that, I will be living a life of gratitude to God for His magnificent gifts.