Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Experience of Gratitude

Despite what this may seem like, this is actually a happy post. 😊
Not gonna lie. It’s been a rough week but things are looking up.
Image may contain: one or more peopleImage may contain: Michelle Wilson, closeupLast Wednesday I had a cracked tooth extracted after fighting an infection in it for a over a month. There’s still pain and residual swelling (plus stitches). Then, this Wednesday I was bitten by a cat on my hand. It became infected despite the antibiotics I’m on for my tooth. The infection quickly crawled up my arm. I was admitted to the hospital and put on IV antibiotics. The meds were able to get me out of the danger zone, so I was able to come home last night. Yay for me! I’ll continue IV antibiotics as an outpatient until I’m better. So, all is well.
Still, it’s hard. I still hurt. I’m still a little nervous. I’m still tired physically and emotionally.
But there is more good here than bad, for which I’m grateful.

There’s definitely value in feeling gratitude and appreciation. 
But without expressing it someway, 
gratitude seems more of an observation than an experience.

For me, the question isn’t whether the cup is half empty or half full. The question is, which flavor of shake is in that cup and where’s my straw because it’s not going to waste.
In that light, I’m going to express gratitude for just a few of the many good things the past little while.
I’m so grateful for my family. I’m grateful to live in this time of modern medicine. I’m grateful for good friends. I’m grateful for prayer. I’m grateful my laptop has voice to text so I could still write 2,500 new NaNo words. (not gonna lie, with voice to text and pain killers, about 2000 of those words are nonsensical crap. But they still count.) I’m grateful for pain medicine. I’m (almost) grateful for hospital food. I’m grateful for the wonderful ER nurse that made me feel at ease. I’m grateful for baggy hospital pants and unlimited ice cream. I’m grateful AMC ran an all-day Hunger Games marathon yesterday; It made my problems feel small compared to Catniss, who spent the entire day fighting, crying, pondering, or yelling while somehow maintaining a shallow character arc. I’m grateful for ice packs and chapstick and chocolate. I’m grateful for some quiet time where people brought me food and warm blankets. I’m grateful for an adjustable bed. It was magical. I’m grateful for socks with sticky bottoms. I’m grateful for the sweet music that played in the hallway every time a baby was born; It reminded me of the miracle of life. I’m grateful for people to dedicate their life to helping other people in the medical field.
And most of all, I’m grateful I’m home. It was a close call.
There still a ways to go, but right now I’m off for my first outpatient IV treatment this morning with a grateful heart and I smile on my face ( Which, by the way, is 95% back to normal. And, the swelling in my hand has gone down as well.)
There are a few pictures in the comments for you weirdos that like pictures of that sort of thing.
Now go and be grateful. And don’t just feel grateful, express your gratitude someway. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Mountains to Climb

Today was a rough day. Most of it was fine, even good. But, then, something happened. It was unexpected and it was hard. Really, really hard.

I've spent the afternoon making dinner, reading Come Follow Me with my family, and having family home evening. I was calm and could even smile, but there was a storm beneath the seemingly placid surface. Inside I was crying out. I was scared. I was tired. And my hope was waning.

Then, I watched this video as I prepared my seminary lesson tomorrow morning. It reached below the depth of my pain and lifted it up to a place I could reach it and hand it, or part of it at least, to God.

I will be okay. This is just a moment in time, and this particular part of the trial will pass.

And perhaps the situation might never completely resolve and perhaps this is simply my lot in life. Perhaps this trial will be one that will never leave.

But, I know that with His help, I can have the power to rise above this trial, to look down on it on my life and see it for what it is. I can walk a higher road and learn. I can be supported. I can trust Him.

I love this Elder Eyring. I love God's timing.

I'm not ready to say I love my trial yet, but I love that I know I can be okay now, even in the midst of it.

This can't be true for only me. I believe this is an eternal truth for all of us.

So, if you are having a rough day, if you feel you are climbing a mountain and you're tired and weak and slipping down a rocky slope, or if you feel like me--like a giant boulder has been thrown at your head--watch this video.

You can climb this mountain. God can help you make it through.

You can and will be okay.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Graven upon His hands

"The Invitation" by Jenedy Paige

Something struck me this morning as I read again one of my favorite verses:

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."*

As part of the Savior's Atonement, He was nailed to a cross and crucified. They drove large nails into the tender palms of His hands, as well as His wrists and feet. The reality of that very real, excruciating, and terrible experience is too unbearable to let my thoughts linger there for very long.

I find hope in His resurrection. His pain is over. The Atonement is complete. This means my pain can be lessened and I can be saved. My heart and thoughts visit this often.

The resurrected Savior had a perfect, glorified body. But, He chose to keep the scars on His hands. Why: So people would have a tangible way of believing who He really was. **

But, as I read the above verse I am moved to a deeper personal meaning behind the immortal scars.

To me, they signify my connection with Him.

We often focus on how the Savior is a part of us, but, with these scars, we are, literally, a part of Him.

He carries us with Him every moment of every day.

These scars represent His love for me and my love for Him.

They represent a connection that He won't break. (We can choose to, but His commitment to us is solid and eternal.)

We are tethered to Him forever, through sacrifice on His part, obedience on our part and love shared between us.

The first part of the Atonement took place in the Garden of Gethsemane where He took upon Himself our pain and sorrow. Here is where, I believe, our union with Him began, where we became a literal part of Him. He felt all of our grief and pain and anguish for us.

Then He hung and gave up His life to pay the price for our sins. And when He rose again, He kept the scars.
He kept His scars so we don't have to keep ours.

He kept His scars so we don't have to doubt.

He kept His scars so we know we are remembered.

He kept His scars so we can see our place in His life.

We are connected to Him in a tender and eternal way-- us on His hands and Him in our hearts.

This makes Him feel all the more real to me. It awakens my sense of obligation in my part of the Atonement. He performed it, but I am the one now must use it. He cannot be a Savior without someone to save, so I willingly let Him save me.

We are a part of Him.

YOU are a part of Him.

He isn't just a part of your life, but you are a part of His, then and right now.

So what can we do?

He performed the Atonement and made us a part of Him. We can choose to let the Atonement perform in us and make Him a part of us. We can put our hand in His. We can let Him love us. We can let Him heal us. We can choose to let go of our pride and anger and let Him change us.

We are a part of Him, this is certain.

Now, we can choose to let Him be a part of us.

* (1 Nephi 21:16, Nephi quoting Isaiah quoting the Lord).

**Jesus allowing others to touch His resurrected, scarred hands: John 20:20; John 20:27; Luke 24:39; Matthew 28:9; 3 Nephi 11:14-15)

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