I had a precious conversation with my youngest child (a freshman in college) last night. We both, in our own worlds (too far apart from each other right now, even though we still live so relatively close), were feeling the hard of COVID and all the unknowns that feel so much more present, even though they are always there.
We’ve been working together to notice the good in each day (an idea that came as we talked about Elder Soares’ talk, “Seeking Christ in Every Thought“). We want to be witnesses to each other that even we things feel hard, God is aware of us. And that good things are always happening, even when we can’t always see them (Or maybe we can if we look a little more for His hand.)
Last night, she had an amazing miracle story to share, one of those WOW moments where you just KNOW God is saying, ““I am here, and I know where you are. Just do your best, for I will take care of the rest.” (Reference in comments.)
And as the conversation continued, more awareness of more tender mercies just kept pouring into our conversation. We were kind of both left speechless.
I was grateful to see a post from Ann Voskamp, a devoted Christian woman who understands the power of looking for the good. It was another reminder to choose to look for the good, even — or especially – when things feel hard. She talks of how she used to be someone who was waiting for joy to come, waiting for good things to happen. And then she did an experiment about writing down daily tender mercies. Her goal was to reach 1000 (and she did).
And this is what she discovered:
on any old day, even this one, it is never too late, all she had to do was write down these smallest slivers of grace in her everyday because:
Gratefulness isn’t hard.
Forgetting to be grateful is what makes life hard.See AnnVoskamp.com
Ann, a woman seeking Christ, issues an invitation to finish the year 2020 with God and grace in our hearts through the exercise of gratitude. “Keep your eyes open to the gifts all around you — that you get to open if you just pay attention.”
As if that wasn’t enough of a clear nudge from heaven to keep practicing looking for the good, later last night, I read about Orihah. He was a king in the Book of Mormon who “did remember how great things that Lord had done” and “taught his people how great things the Lord had done for their fathers.” (Ether 6:30)
Reading that verse then called to mind Moroni 10:3-5. We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often call these verses “Moroni’s promise.” Moroni was the last ancient prophet to finish writing on the plates that Joseph Smith was later given…by Moroni himself, then a resurrected being. The invitation in these verses is specifically about reading the record contained in what now call the Book of Mormon, and praying about it to ask God if it is a true record.
But the secret to preparing to receive insight from and connection to God is also found in these verses.
…remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/moro/10?lang=eng
This is a pattern that shows up elsewhere in the Book of Mormon as well. It’s connected to the covenants Latter-day Saints make every week as we partake of the sacrament. Remember.
When we look for the good, God will help us find it. Those who are seeking Jesus, like Ann Voskamp, and so many others, show how true this concept is.
In truth, the power of gratitude is understood to be a key to peaceful living in a variety belief traditions. Gratitude helps us experience life in a more awake, present, peaceful, radically accepting way. This is not the stuff of pretended positivity, but rather an earnest openness to the good that is always around us, and that becomes more visible when we commit to the practice of looking.
I’m grateful my daughter is willing to help me remember to practice gratitude each day. Would you like to join us in this practice?
What good can you see from your day today? Regardless of faith traditions or political affiliations or countries of origin, we can all find a way to practice looking for the good. It makes a difference for me when I do. And I wonder if we all practiced together if we might discover a bit more individual and collective peace distilling into our lives.