Today has been a good day. We started out the morning with a bike ride through the wheat fields, with trusty Morgan dog running along beside us. Then we came back to the house and had a "pancake picnic." My beloved cooked the pancakes and I set up our folding picnic table out in the yard. We had our breakfast out in the open air soaking up the Spring sunshine. It was great! It occurred to me as we did this what a blessing it is to be able to appreciate simple pleasures. Granted, I'd love to have another exotic vacation to one of the many places I've longed to see ... Italy, China, or even just the Oregon coast. But right now that isn't feasible for us. Yet rather than bemoan being land-locked by our jobs and other obligations, we are finding ways to have sweet times doing vacation-like activities right where we are.
It is so easy to get caught in the treadmill of the daily grind...go to work, come home, cook supper, sleep then turn around and do it all over again. I'm trying to make a point of finding ways to break up that routine - looking for little ways to create joy and appreciate beauty interspersed with our basic duties and busy schedule.
In preparation for our Stake Conference that is this weekend at our church our leaders have asked us to study two talks: "Come What May and Love It", by Joseph Wirthlin and "Hope Ya Know, We Had A Hard Time" by Quentin L. Cook. Both of these talks are great, but I must admit, initially I wasn't thrilled because on the surface it seemed both were about adversity and coping with hard times. I didn't want to think about any more gloom and doom.
YES, we are in a horrible recession. YES the natural world is being assaulted in multiple ways and our resources are in jeopardy. YES there is much pain and anguish in this world. YES, marriages are failing, corporations are failing, for many people physical health is failing. I get that. And I do acknowledge that I need to develop tools for resiliency and for withstanding those sorts of storms.
But for today, I just want to smile and think about eating pancakes in the yard and enjoy planting my flowers and be happy. I'll think about all that serious stuff another time.
However, when I finally did go back and read those articles again, it dawned on me that they are not about how to just endure misery. They really are about finding JOY despite difficulty. Especially Elder Wirthlin's talk. His council to LAUGH in the face reversals does not ask for Pollyanna denial. Instead, he is reminding us all that we can CHOOSE to keep our sense of humor even when it seems we've lost nearly everything else.
We have challenges. There is no denying that. But we also can have pancake picnics, appreciate flowers and revel in simple things. So heck with our shrinking 401K accounts and a pox on our legal issues or periodic health hiccups. At the very same time those things are nagging at our lives, we still have much to be very grateful for. I choose every day which one I will focus on. I really can look all our problems straight in the eye and continue to find joy. That's my story and I'm stickin' with it!