This morning, Angel was crying as she crawled into bed with me. "What's wrong, Sweetheart?" I asked. "There's nothing fun to look forward to, now that Christmas is over!" She then went on to express the sadness she feels at the 'post-holiday slump' and how she wants more presents to open, more parties to attend, and more fun things to do. I told her that I understood her feelings, and that many adults often have similar sentiments.
And then we started discussing Gratitude - for the beautiful Christmas we had, the bounty we're blessed with all year long, and the blessing we have of a new year, and new things to which we may look forward (such as her upcoming birthday in just 3 weeks!). Overall, though, we spoke of finding joy right now, recognizing all we've been blessed with, and that it is enough. We spoke of people who have "everything" and yet remain miserable, and others who have little but find joy in what they have.
As we spoke, I realized that I was speaking more to myself than to her! How often do I find myself looking forward to graduation, telling myself how much easier life will be when we have a steady income, a home, and are able to live in one place for more than 10 months? How often am I caught up in wanting this great toy for my children or that fancy computer; this nice kitchen gadget or that pretty home decoration, when really, I am SO blessed. I have the love of an amazing husband and incredible children, a home that keeps me warm, more food than I need, my health, my freedom, and my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. As I pondered these things, I held my eldest daughter close and, with tears in my eyes, realized she teaches me more than I could ever teach her.
I was touched further when, this afternoon during my personal spiritual study my thoughts were fed through my readings...first, when I read "Some of us look forward to a time in the future...but today is part of eternity."(The Influence of Righteous Women by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, September 2009)
This story also really hit home for me:
One year while trying to make it home from a business trip in time for Christmas, the author says, "...[I] hailed a taxi. As we pulled out on the Capital Beltway, the traffic was awful. Everyone was trying to get home for Christmas. I started to lose patience and began fuming and fidgeting...and making suggestions to the driver. Suddenly he turned around, looked me in the eye, and said in a tone of mild rebuke, 'Sir, there is no reason to be upset about a traffic jam.' Then he turned back around. Sensing perhaps that I was a bit miffed, he looked at me again and said, 'Pardon me. But you see, I am from another planet.' 'Very well,' I replied, 'just what planet do you come from?' I will never forget his reply. He turned around again and said in a calm voice, 'I am from Afghanistan, a country devastated by war, and if you had seen the things I have seen - villages bombed, people starving, men and women and children fleeing for their lives, and war and destruction and chaos on every side - you would not worry so much about a mere traffic jam.' " (The Prince of Glory, Elder Bruce D. Porter, Ensign December 2009)
I am so grateful for my children and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, both of which teach me far more than I could ever hope to learn on my own! Although I try to set goals throughout the year, New Year's Day always affords me a 'fresh start,' for which I am grateful. I've been pondering on what resolutions I plan to make for 2010, and "Finding Joy in the Moment" is certainly on the list!
May you have a prosperous new year, full of joy, hope, and peace! Happy New Year!