In the fall of 2020, the COVID pandemic had the world at its knees. We were certainly all affected in some way.
Given my vocation in the culture and tourism industries, the pandemic posed a serious challenge to me professionally. So, I was full of expectation when I learned that our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, would deliver a special address to the world on November 20, 2020.
As he began, President Nelson told of some of the challenges he had experienced in his life and expressed great concern about the pandemic. Then he said,
'There is, however, a remedy-one that may seem surprising-because it flies in the face of our natural intuitions. Nevertheless, its effects have been validated by scientists as well as men and women of faith.
I am referring to the healing power of gratitude.'
President Nelson invited us to use social media as our personal gratitude journal and to express our thanks to God in our daily prayers for the innumerable blessings in our lives.
I applied the 'therapy' he suggested and felt it helped me in that difficult time to experience healing and have a cheerful, believing heart.
My full-time mission constitutes one of the major blessings in my life. During that time, I became acquainted with many people in widely diverse life situations. Some seemed to have everything needed for a happy life. I also met people, however, who lived in abject poverty, suffered from serious illness, and faced other challenges but who were still filled with joy. As I reflected on my observation, I realized that those who radiated joy even in trying circumstances were also always grateful. I recognized that gratitude is a key to joy.
So, how can we develop a grateful heart?
We need regular moments in our everyday lives to pause and be still. President Nelson said, 'Quiet time is sacred time-time that will facilitate personal revelation and instill peace.'
In these quiet moments, we can open our eyes, ears, and especially our hearts to see how much our Heavenly Father loves and richly blesses us. We can see that ultimately every moment of our lives is a gift from God. That will fill us with joy and gratitude and help us to view even the unpleasant, painful experiences of life more and more as opportunities to learn something new, grow personally, and develop Christlike attributes.
If our heart is full of thanks, we will naturally feel the desire to share with others what brings us joy.
Gratitude is not just a key to personal joy. It also motivates us to be a blessing to others and change the world for the better.
I am deeply grateful to my Father in Heaven for the rich blessings in my life, particularly for my family and the caring people by my side. I thank Him for the great plan of happiness and for my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is a magnificent example to us of what it means to be grateful by unfailingly expressing His gratitude to His father. Let us follow His example and seize every opportunity to thank God and those around us for all the good in our lives. How wonderful it would be if our daily prayers were first and foremost expressions of our gratitude!
I am ever grateful to Jesus Christ. He has shown us how to live. He has provided us with answers to the great questions of life. He fulfilled the atonement, thus paving the way for us to return to our Heavenly Father.
He is my hope. My whole heart is His.