Friday, November 14, 2008

these are not times for the weak of heart

Last night as I was driving home from work I was happy to be a spectator in a Kansas sunset extravaganza. Ahead of me the sky was the dark blues of impending night. Behind me the sky was still lit with the pinks, oranges, and salmon colors of the clouds hanging on to the last bit of day.

When I lived in Utah Valley, I complained (probably too often) about how the mountains blocked my view of the sky—especially the sunrise and sunsets. How could people live without seeing the horizon? During that time I was often frustrated by my lack of perspective, both literally in that the view was blocked by the mountains, and figuratively by my inability to see what the future held in store for me. Now that I'm in this new place, this new phase where I feel like I can see so much more and have so many more decisions spread before me, I look back at that point and am grateful that I was limited in the way I was. I thought I was ready to see it all, but now I can see that I needed the limitations so that I would be forced to grow in the way that the Lord wanted me to. He showed me just what I needed to see—no more and no less—in order for my actions to be focused on what was important at that time. The mountains that began as obstacles to my view became, over time, beautiful to me. I learned to live within my boundaries and appreciate the blessings of the moment. Now I sometimes look back at that time and wish for more restrictions, more ease, less responsibility. Hindsight, right?

So, last night, as I was watching the night deepen ahead of me and the sun dazzle behind me I was reminded that there are those special times when the Lord wants to show me everything. He does want me to know that there are no boundaries on my potential and that movement in either direction will lead to something that, although very different from the other option, can be beautiful. It’s my choice. I get to determine whether I want the deep blues or the vibrant reds. Today, while the sky is a troubled grey as a storm moves in, and my view in any direction seems dismal, I can take comfort in knowing that the colors are out there, somewhere, and that at the right moments (when I’m ready to see them) the Lord will remind that with His help I can see everything.

1. I am thankful for perspective and for my understanding of my divine potential.
2. I am thankful for the happy limitations that my life choices have brought. For example, I don’t get to choose anymore who I will marry because I already made that choice (and chose well) and am bound to it. And I don’t get to choose whether or not I will go to college because, again, that choice was already made.
3. I am thankful for my eyes and my ability to see colors, smiles, family, friends, nature, kindness, and everything else.

“It is delightfully easy to thank God for the grace we ourselves have received, but it requires great grace to thank God always for the grace given to others.”
-James Smith

“…The Roman orator Cicero claimed this quality was ‘not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others’ (Marcus Tullius Cicero, Pro Plancio, 54 b.c.). It is a quality I have found in every happy person I know. It is a quality that instantly makes a person more likable and more at peace. Where there is an abundance of this virtue, there is happiness. Where there is an absence of this virtue, there is often sadness, resentment, and futility. The virtue I am speaking of is gratitude.”
-Joseph B. Wirthlin, "'Live in Thanksgiving Daily'," Ensign, Sep 2001

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