“Now have we not reason to rejoice?” (Alma 26:35)
Last Friday, Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and beloved prophet, challenged those listening to counteract the world’s present turmoil with a simple remedy: Gratitude. President Nelson then invited us to make social media our personal gratitude journal over the course of one week, and I’ve done just that. What a wonderful opportunity it’s been to count my blessings and watch others do the same.
There’s just one problem. Seven days aren’t nearly enough to document all the things I’m grateful for. My life is full of so many great people, places, and things worthy of recognition I feel compelled to add this addendum to my social media gratitude journal, and even then I realize I’m barely scratching the surface:
I’m grateful for a challenging and rewarding career that allows me to comfortably support my family. I’m grateful for a good boss who cares about his employees and fights hard for justice in our community.
I’m grateful for autumn. That means colors, falling leaves, cool breezes, family, football, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie – not necessarily in that order.
I’m grateful for rockets and airplanes and kites and clouds and sunsets and barn swallows.
I’m grateful for stories and for the gift of imagination. Watching a good movie on the big screen is one of the best things in the world. Plays and musicals are amazing too. I love science fiction. I’m grateful for late-night poetry jam sessions with my kids. I’m grateful for Barnes & Noble and the Lincoln City Libraries.
I’m grateful for talented people – especially talented people who are good. I’m grateful for authors who inspire me. I’m grateful for my personal writing partner who motivates me to keep pressing forward with my goals.
I’m grateful for music. I’m grateful for trumpets and French horns and for Christmas tuba concerts at the rotunda of the State Capitol Building, although my dear wife has taught me there’s more to life than the brass section. I’m grateful for violins and cellos and pianos too.
I’m grateful for warm blankets and Oreo cookies and Godfather’s Pizza and cherry limeade. I’m grateful for fresh-baked bread.
I’m grateful for my siblings – two stylish sisters and a brother who is nothing less than Super Uncle to our children. I’m grateful for an abundance of brothers- and sisters-in-law. I’m grateful for too many nieces and nephews to count – or to remember all of their names.
I’m grateful for teachers and medical professionals and law enforcement officers. I’m grateful for handy people who, unlike me, have actual skills and know how to fix things.
I’m grateful for my church family. I’m grateful for my quorum. I love and appreciate all the people I’ve ministered to over the years. I love and appreciate all the people who’ve ministered to me – and especially to my children. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve served alongside. I’m grateful for people who are trying to live what they believe.
I’m grateful for full-time missionaries, priesthood authority and keys, saving ordinances, temples, modern revelation, scripture, a living prophet, and the comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost. Most of all, I’m grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who has blessed me with all of these gifts and more and who withheld nothing in sending His Only Begotten Son to atone for me and for all mankind.
Let’s just say I’m grateful.
Chris lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Sara, and their six children. He has a B.A. in communications (print journalism) from Brigham Young University and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Chris enjoys music by The Piano Guys, flying kites, and pumpkin pie. Chris is the author of Red: A Football Novel.