We wish we could feel ‘up’ and full of gratitude all the time, 24/7. Truer, however, is that some times we just don’t feel very thankful. Maybe we’ve been hurt by a family member or friend. Maybe the support we’ve counted on has seemingly let us down. Sometimes physical trials or financial woes seem unending. Maybe we feel alone – even when surrounded by others. Or maybe we’re just so doggoned tired that we can’t seem to dredge up much feeling of any kind.
These are not empty words…. I feel these feelings sometimes and, although I wish I could blink them away, it isn’t that easy. Sigh….. But then – nothing worth having comes cheap, does it?
When we don’t have that “attitude of gratitude” that we strive for, and are feeling either painful, empty or over the edge of tiredness, what is there to grasp that might give us back that feeling of hope, light, and cheer?
This age-old question has been addressed lots of times, in lots of ways. I have no new wisdom to add, or quick fixes to offer. I do, however, have a beautiful thought that brings me an extra bit of cheer and determination when I need it. They are the words of Helen Keller:
“For three things I thank God every day of my life: thanks that he has vouchsafed me knowledge of his works; deep thanks that he has set in my darkness the lamp of faith; deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to–a life joyous with light and flowers and heavenly song.”
Because of Helen Keller’s seeming disabilities, she grew very “abilitied” in her spiritual self. Though she could not see, hear, or speak, her communications came through in the most beautiful, uplifting, and glorious ways. Apparently, they grew within her heart because of her daily “Three Thanks”.
Her three choices for daily gratitude were:
1. Knowledge of God’s works. We gain knowledge through reading scriptures, prayers, and deep ponderings. Our revelation grows as does our understanding of Godly things. Apparently, Helen knew what we have been taught- Read, Ponder, Pray. Our God grants us as much knowledge and understanding as we dare seek.
2. Faith. Hebrews 11:11 teaches us: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Many prophets have spoken on the subject of faith. This gift is like a muscle that grows stronger as it is used and developed. Helen had inner eyes that saw much more than these earthly eyes can comprehend. Her path was lit with the lamp of faith.
3. A heavenly life to look forward to. Matthew 18:3 reminds us that we need to become like little children. Little ones are full of anticipation, open to love and to learning, full of wisdom that trailed them from their pre-mortal time which grants them a certain joy that this world’s darkness can dim. Helen Keller’s earthly life was, by most comparisons, difficult. The overcoming of those difficulties came through the amazing goodness and kindness of a teacher who loved her, and through Helen’s own remarkable ability to live according to the instruction we receive in the Book of Mormon:
“..Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”(2 Ne 31:20)
She knew that one fine day she would see with perfect eyes, hear music with perfect ears, and enjoy all the blessings that heaven offers.
We can imagine that Ms Keller gave thanks for many additional blessings on a daily basis. But this foundation grants all of us the extra oomph- when taken to heart and utilized- for times when we may not feel very thankful!