Last year, my junior year of college, I started a majority of my major-related classes — well the ones that really matter. The first day of class, I had a teacher that had us play a game with marshmallows and spaghetti to help us all get to know each other (yes, I did say I was in college). After the game, she told us that we needed to take out a paper or make a document (since we were all computer people) and write down the things that we were grateful for that day FOR FIVE WHOLE MINUTES. I was surprised but gladly participated. I remember writing down my list. There were three things. Three whole things that I was grateful for. The list seemed kind of short. She then asked people to share. And my classmates started sharing!
We, the class, continued doing this throughout the semester. Every other day, we would have her class and with that the opportunity to write down things we were grateful for. After about two weeks, I started to miss her class because I wanted to write down what I was grateful for. And it clicked. I needed to do it regardless of my class schedule. I started establishing a habit of writing down things that I was grateful for. Every day, for five minutes. Often times it was the best five minutes of my day. To be able to reflect on all the blessings, both big and small — it was glorious!
As the semester went on, I realized how much happier I was. It wasn’t because my challenges got any easier (quite the contrary actually). But what did happen was that my life got easier. I started noticing the little things, like when my roommate would make my bed for me. Or when a person said, “Thank you.” And I wanted to be more like the people I was grateful for.
I haven’t kept up the habit of writing down the things that I am grateful for. But as I was sitting in my church meetings, I thought to myself, “Why did you stop? Once you were doing it, writing down the things you are grateful for was so easy. SO WHY?!”
Today is a new day. And with that the opportunity to change. So, here is my list (and they are in no particular order) and commitment to start doing this again.
- A Warm Bed to Sleep In. It is finals week, and I am trying to plan a trip to another country, so my to-do list is LONG. Therefore I am grateful for a warm bed to sleep in.
- Trash Bags. Having trash bags instead of Smiths bags to put the trash in is such a blessing. You don’t have to take out the trash as often.
- Qtips. Putting on make-up is a struggle sometimes, and Qtips save my life.
- Bishop’s Wife. She just makes life better. And is like a second mom.
- The Atonement. Taking the Sacrament is a tender experience. Knowing that you and I are able to be forgiven for our sins, both big and small, as well as find comfort for the situations we find ourselves in, is awe inspiring.
- Good Friends. Friends that make you smile. Friends that build you up. Friends that invite you for dinner. Friends that make you laugh. They’re important.
- Family. My family was recently out of town, and so I am really grateful that they are back.
- Lawn Mowers. Yesterday I mowed the lawn, and it was so much fun! I am so grateful for technology that makes life easier.
- The Church as an Organization. If you haven’t seen the new social media campaign for the Sabbath Day, go check it out. #HisDay
- Laughter. Laughter is the cure to most of my problems. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
What is on your list?