Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Gratitude: A Break in the Horizon

This morning was quite a metaphorical ride in to work. It's been cloudy and rainy all week which resulted in a meter of fresh snow on the local mountains. For that we are grateful. It's also been quite dark. During winter when I ride in to work it's dark out. Summer time its light out but not yet. This morning there was a dark roof of clouds over head with a break in the clouds all along the horizon and for the first time this season you could see the clouds light up from the rising sun.

It reminded me of that saying behind the dark clouds the sun is still shining. It was also a beacon announcing that summer is on it's way. You can't stop the world from turning. The seasons will change. Summer will return. I was at a crossroads in my life recently and it was kind of stressing me out. It was more of an intersection as there were more than two ways I could go. The road I wanted to go down was closed and it looked like I was forced to make a turn.

As I thought about where that other road led, vivid images of everything I would find along that road came to mind and it caused me a great deal of anxiety. I really didn't want to go down that road. As I reflected on the fact that I had no other choice but to go down that road it started to cause me more and more anxiety. I really didn't want to go there. So I said don't. I pointed to an alternate route and said I think I'll take that road instead.

Gradually all the anxiety started to dispute and I felt a deep sense of inner peace return. The more I reflected on that alternate route, the stronger I felt. We all have struggles and setbacks in life. I remember on my mission my parents sent me a vivid poster of an old work horse pulling a very heavy load during a blizzard. The caption read when the going gets tough, the tough get going. In other words, they go to work.

On my mission I remember saying I look forward to one day going home and living the gospel instead of just preaching it. It's one thing to talk the talk, it's another thing to walk the walk. A lot of people think living the gospel means doing some dramatic act of selfless service but that's not always the case. Living the gospel means getting up and going to work in the morning when you really don't feell like it so you can put food on the table. That's living the gospel. By the sweat of thy brow thou shalt labor all the days of thy life and in this life ye shall have joy. There is no joy without hard work. Work is the means of all our accomplishment.

When we face set backs and discouragement in life it's always important to stop and make a list of all the things you have to be grateful for. It lifts us out of the self imposed pity party and helps us put things in perspective.

I have a lot to be grateful for. First on the list is my health because health is wealth. A few years ago I blew out my hip and was in a lot of pain. I needed two canes to walk and I could barely stand. Every step I took was very painful. I was f*cked. Finally I had a hip replacement and I'm fine now. I can walk hands free with no pain. I am very grateful for that.

I also grateful for my kids. I have two children not one. They're all grown up now doing their own thing and I'm very proud of them. They're both following their dreams. Parents give their kids two things: roots and wings. It brings joy seeing your kids fly. Over the years I had the chance to help out a few other kids and although we've all gone our separate ways, I'm very grateful for the time I was able to spend with them. There's a lot of good memories there. Happy memories.

I remember going through some dark times many years ago and I came across a scripture that said thou shalt forget thy misery and remember it as the waters that pass away. It was a very vivid image. I could see all my pain and heartache written in the sand then have the receding tide wash it all away. At the time I thought that was impossible but it was a vivid promise that was later fulfilled. All the bad memories washed away and all the good memories remained. Well the bad memories didn't completely wash away but they were painless and became comical lessons well learned. I'd look back and say yeah I don't want to do that again but there was no pain left.

When my older brother left home I kind of inherited a few old albums. One was Rare Earth. Two songs struck me - God's Light and I just want to celebrate. One line said "I had my hand on a dollar bill and the dollar bill blew away, but the sun is shining down on me and it's hear to stay."

Another line said "I put my faith in the people and the people let me down, so I turned the other way and I carried on anyhow. I just want to celebrate another day of living. I just want to celebrate another day of life." Now I'm not ready to dance and celebrate because loss needs time to grieve and process but I am ready to get to work because that's the only way forward.

Joseph once said How long can rolling waters remain impure? The metaphor means stagnate water becomes polluted but running water is cleaner. That's why you never drink out of ponds or puddles when you go hiking. You look for running water instead. The metaphor that Joseph was referring to was if we keep moving and keep working, answers will come. That's why I like to ride. I like to keep moving. Thanks to this recent epiphany the song Riders on the Storm by the Doors kept playing in my head. Riding through the storm to greener pastures and a brighter future.


  1. Awesome analogies Dennis.

    1. Thanks. I wasn't sure if it was TMI but I'm sure I'm not the only one that goes through struggles in life. That which doesn't kill you will make you stronger.


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