***Huge blogging break due to traveling and sickness and old-fashioned laziness.***
I recently visited my parents for a couple weeks. My husband drove us from Texas to Kansas, stayed for a few days, and flew home to work while we visited family. At the end of our sojourn, he flew back to Kansas and drove with us back to Texas. This has been the arrangement of the last few summers and it seems to work. He visits the family, but doesn't have to take time off work. I don't have to drive alone.
However, I always forget that it's hard to be without my husband. I have my parents, but it's different somehow. My kids aren't nearly as well-behaved. Perhaps it's because I discipline less. The relief I get from my husband seems to be more, although my mom and dad help in their way. This time, it seemed harder because our space was tighter. My parents are staying in an apartment while their house is built. It's large as far as apartments go, but there were days we were stuck inside due to sickness and both my parents were working.
There was this stay-inside-with-sick-child moment when I was feeling particularly down and stifled. And so I prayed. Immediately my mind turned toward my friend who was fighting for custody of her children. And the blog post I'd read that morning of my college roommate's cousin who had lost her husband. It came to my mind that I must be grateful.
And so I tried. I tried to be more grateful that day and think about the blessings who are my children who I get to see everyday. I tried to consider that my husband may be gone for a couple weeks and not for forever.
I began to think of gratitude as something of a need, a spiritual need. I treat it much like something nice, like frosting on the cake. But it's the cake's leaven and what makes it rise. (There I go with the cake analogies again...) Gratitude can lift us. We need it to lift us.
Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. --Bonnie D. Parkin, former General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.