Life recently has helped me to learn gratitude. For the most part, I’ve lived a very blessed life, without any major struggles. There has never been a shortage of things to be grateful for, which is probably why I was never very grateful for any of it. When you have everything you want, you forget easily.
But right now I don’t have everything I want. My life is still wonderful and I am still incredibly blessed, but I live far away from family in a place I don’t necessarily like that much. I have struggled living here. Which means I needed to learn gratitude.
It’s easy to not notice everything you have in life. We take most things for granted. For a while, I was reading/watching a few design/lifestyle shows/blogs. I would look at beautiful houses with hardwood floors and beautiful people with stylish clothes and I wanted that. I don’t know why I wanted it–it’s not like it would make me happy at all. I finally stopped reading and stopped watching. Because I may live in a modular home with lots of cheap/ugly finishes and carpet that is literally falling apart, but it works just fine.
There are so many people in the world that have so much less than I do. I have running water. I have heat. And air conditioning. And electricity. And triple-pane windows. And a refrigerator. An extra bedroom that we completely don’t need at all and rarely use. And two bathrooms that are almost completely functional. And a new roof. And a shed to store extra stuff. I mean, my house doesn’t look that awesome. But it functions. I can be very grateful for it.
It seems sort of silly to be worrying about things like the state of your baseboards. We have so many good things in our life, and yet we keep inventing stuff to worry about–like being on trend or fashionable or having lots of stuff.
So much of it doesn’t matter.
I haven’t traveled much and I haven’t seen how some people live in other countries–in small shacks without what we would consider absolute necessities. I have seen a little bit how a lot of people live even in the United States–there are people with broken roofs and windows, plumbing that never gets fixed, old fixtures, peeling paint, holes in their foundation, flooding basements. There are people who don’t know where the money is coming for their next meal.
We forget that. We feel like everyone has more than we do, when in reality we have been blessed with so much.
I have thought sometimes that it is hard living where I live–maybe because the desert is ugly or my kitchen sink still leaks or my closets all seem full or simply because I miss my family. But when it comes down to it, I don’t have any real struggles. I think of some of my ancestors who literally left their entire family and everything they owned and immigrated to an unknown desert. That was a time when there was no Facebook and texting, only slow, handwritten letters. That was when you had to build your house, farm your own food, and sew your own clothes.
We miss seeing most of what we have been given in this life. I have been given a gift of time, for example, and I rarely am grateful for empty hours. But they truly are a gift.
I think it’s okay to say that some things are hard in life. But there is always, always something to be grateful for. No matter how bad things seem, someone probably has it worse. And throughout history, mankind has been preserving anyway. When it comes down to it, we can be grateful for our very lives and for our Savior, Jesus Christ. And that is enough.
Blessings have been flooding into my life, and maybe I’ve learned a little bit better how to recognize them. I’ll keep working on it.