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April Jeppson: In 2020, there’s still much to be grateful for

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

 

In my natural state, I’m a very grateful person. I understand how fortunate I am to have a job, two working vehicles, a roof over my head and a healthy family. I do not take these things for granted. It was only a few years ago that I was crying tears of joy on my kitchen floor for a bag of rice that a friend brought over. I know how blessed I am and I try to share my gratitude to my Savior every chance I get.

However, this year has silenced me a bit. I know that I’m blessed and have much to be thankful for, but I don’t feel like shouting it from the rooftops. I’m a little more tired and worn down than usual. I think we all are. This year has not been easy on any of us. We’ve all had to shift the way we work, shop, educate and live; and change is not easy. If change was easy, then everyone would be able to keep their New Year’s resolutions, right?

April Jeppson

So I’ve had to cut myself some slack this year and allow myself to get sad from time to time. To mourn the loss of the way I used to live. It’s OK and I know that this will pass. I’m still able to see the positive in most situations, but I haven’t felt truly grateful lately.

A week ago my church issued a challenge to its members, not just at the local level, but worldwide. It was brought up how negative media can be and how easy it can suck us in and down with it. We were challenged to post daily about our blessing and #givethanks. Within hours I noticed my news feed change. Instagram and Facebook were transformed into gratitude and blessing journals. After seeing so much bickering over the shutdowns and elections, it was refreshing to go online this week. I loved it.

There were days when it was easy to think of something to be grateful for. I could have written paragraphs on how this or that has impacted me. Then there were other days where I struggled. It was almost difficult to find the words or even the energy to type them.

This week my family sat around the dinner table and each took turns saying what we were grateful for. My husband jotted down each one. Family, music, paved roads, Minecraft, doctors, stuffed animals, taste buds — all 144 items. I told my children about the saying, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things that you thanked God for in your prayers tonight?” It really makes you realize how many things there truly are to be thankful for.

It’s not about being happy all the time or not experiencing sadness. Awful things happen. Horrible loss and pain that’s often unavoidable. This is not about that. This is about seeing the good and really soaking it up. It’s about understanding that the more grateful you are, the more things you’ll notice to be grateful for. The wishing and wanting and feeling sorry for ourselves kind of fades away and you’re really able to take in what matters.

“We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.” — Thomas S. Monson

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.