I recently sat in a hospital waiting room while our son was having a growth removed from his neck. It had been there for several years and when he finally had it checked out life became a bit of a whirlwind. Doctor visits, biopsies, surgeries, pathology reports, and patience have become our new normal.

As I’ve wrestled with the topic of gratitude, the next in my Choices for Change series, I’ve been drawn back to what our son said before his first surgery:

IMG_5328“I have two ways of thinking.  I can either focus my thoughts on my faith and trust everything will work out okay, or I can focus on the fact that I’m getting cut open tomorrow.”

His attitude was jovial and optimistic that next morning, and as a family, we reflected his optimism. We were united together in our faith and prayers. The looming questions of “what if” were something we chose to push to the back of our minds. But after the surgery and pathology reports were back we had yet another choice to make.  

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An Attitude of Gratitude II

At first, I didn’t believe him when he said, “I have cancer mom.”  Was this some kind of ugly joke? This happens to other people, not to us.  But no one is safe from the big “C” word. It sneaks up and shocks your system like the scariest of horror movies. It doesn’t seem real – and yet it is. I do not mean to sensationalize the pain our family is feeling right now, but merely want to share some of my thoughts from the last few weeks.

Faith

My dad was the first person I called. The words were stuck in my throat and finally squeaked out.  “He has cancer dad.” His reassurance quickly calmed my worries and fueled my faith. I’m grateful for parents who taught me faith was to see beyond the “right now.”

I couldn’t help but feel the similarities between calling my dad and praying to my Heavenly Father.  I’m grateful for a relationship with my earthly father that has laid a foundation for one with my Heavenly Father. He cares about our pain and is waiting anxiously for us to reach out and ask for the comfort and peace He is readily waiting to offer.  

Peace

I’m grateful for the peace I felt after the initial shock had passed. I had been studying my scriptures earlier in the day before the pathology report came back.  The words “Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea” [1]  had affected me that morning and came rushing to me again in my time of need.

The peace God offers is not always a perfect and pristine picture. His peace is calming but ever moving as it carries us like a river to where we need to go. Our righteous choices give us strength like the waves of the sea.  As we face the blowing winds the future is sure to hold, I feel peace deep within my soul.  And for that I am grateful.

Cultivating Gratitude

It would be easy to share a “How to” list for cultivating gratitude, but there is no gettingAttitude of Gratitude quote II around the action involved with developing the habit.  It takes consistent effort and just like a muscle that doesn’t get used – it will atrophy.  Gratitude is a choice.  One that we have to consciously make with every negative thought or difficult situation. Concentrating on what you have rather than what you don’t creates a “half glass full” type of outlook.  With each sincere expression of gratitude, we send positive energy to our brain increasing our ability to cope and survive the harder things in life.

I feel hope not despair as we unite around our son and the battle ahead. I’m reminded of the scripture that says: “Lift up thy head and rejoice; for thou hast great cause to rejoice.” [2]  We have so much to rejoice and be thankful for.  Growth is never easy, and we wouldn’t appreciate it if it was. I’m grateful for this opportunity to grow.


References:
[1] Isaiah 48:18
[2] Alma 8:15

An Attitude of Gratitude – Searching for Ways to be Grateful is Part VI in the Choices for Change Series

Lori Jackson

Owner, Curator, and Author at Choosing Wisdom
I’m a wife, mother, friend, and storyteller. I have a love for learning, giggling with my grandson and tandem biking with my husband. I believe wisdom goes beyond being smart or having basic knowledge. It is the culmination of experiences that help us become. While each of our challenges may be unique, we have the opportunity to choose how we will react, learn and grow. My journey has taught me that I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a voice to share what I’ve learned. Life can either teach us or defeat us – the choice is ours.

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12 thoughts on “An Attitude of Gratitude – Searching for Ways to be Grateful”

  1. I think that it is the most important to have an attitude of gratitude when life gets tough. When we focus on our abundance and the blessing already working in our lives, we are more receptive to future miracles. Even though it’s hard, it makes all the difference.

    Virtual hugs.

    1. So true Krista! It isn’t our natural tendency to have that kind of attitude when life gets tough. When we feel helpless like we don’t know what else to do gratitude can become a healing balm. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Lori! I am so moved by your authentic share. Thank you. I believe in the power of prayer and will pray for your son and your peace of mind! I am grateful for your faith!
    xo~D
    Be You and Thrive

  3. Lori, you are an inspiration! I am sorry for this development and I will be thinking of your family. I have been pondering gratitude this week as well; I am grateful for angel friends like you and glad that you have tools and a support system ti turn to. You are loved!!

  4. Oh my. What a beautiful post, Lori. I’m sorry your family is going through this right now, but there is definitely truth in the opportunity to *grow* through it as well. Gratitude can help make faith, hope, peace, and enduring to the end seem more attainable. May God bless you and your family during this experience. 💜

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