Lately, I've been asking myself why I stress over dishes that I collect, tablescapes, holidays, schedules, schools and the like. If you really take a look, one may say there's no reason, but now that I've been stressing over similar issues for over 12 years, it's very easy and very clear why: I want to be grateful, not just "thank you" grateful, but "feel-it-down-to-my-toes" grateful where I see the beauty in all things when I least expect it.
Serving my children through helping them organize their days, clothes and time help me to see their worth, both individually and as my precious children, as children of God. I don't know of anyone that watched a child and said, "what a waste" (of course, those that are psychotic, deranged and evil can argue this point). They get me through my day. Like tonight, I was shushing all three almost every three minutes, but despite the chaos and the noise, I was able to organize my menu, set the table, thaw the game hens, bake cookies, plan tomorrow, read and write emails, make dinner and various other things. Serving them allows me to receive blessings that help my family in countless ways.
Serving in the church, including sustaining my husband's responsibilities, brings out the wimp in me, but a commitment I made long ago has a pretty impeccable timing in creeping up on me when I'm ready to throw in the towel. For any LDS member who never felt this way, I salute you. What's your secret? I feel that I both want to help and not know what to do, so I just dive in and hope for the best. If all I get out of it, is a forced smile, then I know that that is my blessing for that day. Though it was my favorite church calling, Activity Days Leader was probably the most confusing and trying one for me. But to be honest, it wasn't the girls that made it difficult. They were all my bouys during my wading in the "doubt" pool. It was my self doubt that kept me from truly enjoying the calling, but now, looking back, I can't help but appreciate the beautiful faces I got to teach, talk with and walked with around the Mesa temple for two Decembers. They are amazing souls. I truly loved every minute with them. As a RS Teacher, I was again a puddle of raw nerves and blind faith. The truth that I read up on and the confirmations afterwards are enough to make me run the other way, but I know that there was reason I had to do that calling. Of course, there are callings I would never wish for, but I know that with that commitment I made long ago on bended knees, I will find myself again diving in and hoping for the best.
Serving others, no matter who they are, is what the world knows to be the most noble, selfless act. How many times do we scan the papers, internet, or press our ears to the car radio hoping to come across someone sharing their "Superman complex" within their community? The fact is, the need to serve is the quickest way to break any ice, the best way to show kindness, the only way to explain compassion and the divine way of believing in something bigger than us. I love serving others. A new friend of mine said something that I never even thought of much until I was sharing it with my husband. She said, "You're so giving that most people think that there's a catch". She's right, most of us are weary about generosity, kindness and compassion. All types of media and even eye-witness accounts or hearing of our loved ones' terrible plight with a conman, leave us with mental and social alarms that keep us from automatic kindness, common courtesy and human compassion, a lot of times. For me, I can't help it, when someone needs my help, I help with hope that I will not be harmed in the process. I dive in with a prayer in my heart; I guess you can call it my internal 911 phone directly connected to the only source of help I trust implicitly.
Why do all of these, why bother? Because part of the commitment I made is that I prayed that I am "never to be ungrateful for anything in my life". And serving, in any capacity I can and given, I gladly take on so that at the end of the day, I have something to be grateful for. I want my blessings; I want my actions to forge the doorknob that Jesus Christ can finally turn from the outside so He can come in to my life anytime and direct me to where I need to be.
I am truly thankful for all that I have, do not have, will never have and have had. And the stress of it all, just add to the beauty of the picture we call gratitude.
Gratitude leads to happiness, and who wouldn't want happiness? So serve and be grateful, the lightness you'll feel is the start of an unbreakable cycle that was designed by heavenly hands and hearts...