THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS GENERAL CONFERENCE – October 2007
This past week, we looked at gratitude ahead of time. Gratitude in our future, intentionally felt today.
In today’s discussion, Elder Henry B Eyring teaches us to look in our past with gratitude. Gratitude for our past, intentionally felt today.
I think this practice comes a little more naturally to us than gratitude ahead of time. We are taught this skill from the time we were little. We write thank you notes to friends and family who sent us a Christmas gift. We say thank you to the Lord in our prayers for the safety we had that day. At the end of podcasts, the hosts sometimes thanks us for listening in. Intentionally feeling gratitude for the past is an incredible tool – a gift to others, and a gift to ourselves. Right?
Elder Eyring has kept a gratitude journal every day of his adult life:
“Before I write, I ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’
As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.”
When we promise, each week in church, partaking of the Sacrament, to “always remember Him”, I think this applies to the past, the future, and also to the present.
Past. Remembering Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32) helps us not to repeat mistakes made in the past. By remembering the words “of your dying father” (2 Nephi 3:25), we have instructions that will serve us well, on the forefront of our minds. By remembering the words of a prophet “concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world (Alma 36:17), we find hope in our current distressing condition – we remember that we have had help in the past, and we have gotten through our trails, and we feel hope for help and relief in the future, ultimately through our Savior. By remembering, by “cast(ing) (our) mind over the day”, we can see “evidence of what God has done for … us”.
Future. I practiced the principle taught in Day #99 this very morning, in fact. I was asked to give a presentation at a Stake Conference. And, as I prepared, on my knees in prayer, I fast forwarded in my mind to after the presentation was completed. I practiced feeling the gratitude I knew I would feel after the event – grateful to be done, of course, but even more, I practiced feeling incredible gratitude for the opportunity to teach and just to be a part of this, His work. And I did!
Present. In “always remember(ing) Him”, I think we are also promising to always THINK OF our Savior – of HIM. As opposed to always thinking of ME.
“’How everything affects me’ is the center of all that matters—self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking.”https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1989/05/beware-of-pride?lang=eng
What does it look like to “always remember HIM”? What does that look like?
In the words of the hymn, More Holiness Give Me: More tears for HIS sorrows and more pain at HIS grief. More faith in my Savior. More joy in HIS service. More zeal in HIS glory. More hope in HIS word.
When we show up in the world coming from a place of “always remember(ing) Him”, we are coming from a place of love, because God is love (John 4:8).
“There is a simple cure for the terrible malady of forgetting…
The key to the remembering that brings and maintains testimony is receiving the Holy Ghost as a companion. It is the Holy Ghost who helps us see what God has done for us. It is the Holy Ghost who can help those we serve to see what God has done for them.”
And what about remembering what others have done for us?
I want to close with an entry from my own journal, from almost two years ago, shortly after my parent’s divorce. The entry was written with a desperate prayer in my heart for the gift of the Holy Spirit to help me better see:
9 April 2018
There is a part in the book, Gone With the Wind, when a group of ladies are criticizing Scarlett Ohara, behind her back. And what they were saying about her was probably true. She was a hard, selfish, immature character! But, when Melanie Wilkes hears what they’re saying, she threatens to throw them out of her home. She says something to the affect of, “Maybe YOU have forgotten what Scarlett has done for me, and for my baby. But I WILL NEVER FORGET! I will never never never forget!” (I tried to find the exact quote again, but couldn’t…dang it…)
Whether or not she saw clearly Scarlett’s shortcomings, at present, Melanie had a fierce gratitude and loyalty to this faulty character, because she “will never forget” what good Scarlett had also done.
I have thought so much about Melanie, fictional character though she is, and the characteristics she has that I would like to attain myself. Kindness, humility, no tolerance for gossip, forgiveness, loyalty. But the characteristic I have wanted the most to emulate is her gratitude. And not just gratitude at the moment the gift is given, but her ability to REMEMBER and seek to, if not repay, remain loyal to those she is grateful for, in the book.
DAD. I will never forget the nights in High School, when I was really really struggling, and he would give me a Father’s blessing, then he would hold me while I cried. Sometimes he would massage my head. I was never a burden on him. I will never forget! Never never never.
MOM. I will never forget the weeks before and after Matthew’s birth and death. She so selflessly and tirelessly cared for me and for my children! She served me purely. I will never forget! Never never never.
There is no way I can possibly remember, let alone list, all the good I’ve been shown – SO MUCH GOOD HAS BEEN OFFERED ME! But remembering to remember is a start.
“Lord, God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget!”