I hope you are all well, basking the glow of gratitude for good gifts, generously given. I have been recovering from knee surgery this past week, so I've not been online much. I've spent a lot of time looking out the front door at a row of trees we have. They were tiny when we first moved to this house. In the 18 years we've lived here those trees have grown enormously and now they form a huge, living wall. In the spring and summer, I spend hours beneath these trees writing.
Every year, these are the last leaves to change color in our neighborhood. In fact, by the time they change, most other trees are completely bare. But every year, the wait is worth it. I look out my door and I see the most amazing tapestry or red, orange, and yellow, with a few hints of green. In the morning when the sun comes up, it glows like a massive stained glass window.
Looking at each leaf is not terribly impressive. They are small and easily overlooked. But taken together, the number of leaves and the variety of colors create the most stunning display.
I've been thinking a lot about gratitude and it struck me that each of our blessings is like an individual leaf: they might be small and not terribly impressive or even obvious. But taken together, they reveal the hand of a loving, tender Father in our lives. Taken together they form incredible tapestries, glowing with a soft holy light.
I think perhaps that's what gratitude does: it makes us conscious of our blessings, stringing together small, individual blessings into a whole that is magnificent and stunning. Gratitude shapes our heart and enhances our vision, allowing us to see and enjoy the breathtaking pattern made by God's individual gifts and mercies.
And like those leaves taking their time to turn, just as we had to wait for years for the trees to grow, sometimes the blessings seem less obvious, sometimes we have to be patient, but the wait only makes the view all the more spectacular!
My favorite verse in the scriptures tells of a God who created a beautiful earth, placing things on it that would sustain life but also gladden our hearts, a God who takes joy in the fact that he gave us things that give joy, but also tells of a God who appreciates our acknowledgement of the gifts he gives so freely (D&C 59:17-21).