This little Johanson family had an EXCELLENT Thanksgiving holiday. We headed up to the mountains in Southern California and there met up with five of my six siblings for some great festivities. We had an entire schedule of events which included (but was not limited to): battle of the bands, a talent show, shopping, a late night showing of “New Moon” (which Loren and Sam particularly enjoyed), ultimate frisbee, and of course, a great Thanksgiving Feast. My brother Loren and his wife Sonya were the most excellent of hosts.
Usually, at Thanksgiving dinner, we all go around the table and say what we are most thankful for. All morning I was trying to figure out what I would say when it was my turn, and I just couldn’t pinpoint what it was I was most grateful for. I am not sure why, but mealtime came and went without this little tradition (fortunately for me, because I still didn’t know what I would have said.) But I did continue to think about it, and was eventually able to come up with an answer.
Things have changed a lot since my last Thanksgiving…and even much more since the Thanksgiving before. If I were asked to give a list of the things that I am most grateful for, it would be all the normal things…my husband, my children, my extended family, my religion, my health…etc. But the truth is, two years ago, well, even one year ago, I didn’t even fully comprehend the magnitude of such blessings. The gratitude I felt then didn’t even scratch the surface of what I feel now.
Elder Oaks has taught, “We should thank God for our adversities, and pray for guidance in meeting them. It is all part of the plan…Let us give thanks for what we are and for the circumstances God has given us for our personal journey through mortality.”
I don’t think this means that I need to be thankful that my son died. Or that I recently had a miscarriage. Or that Adam doesn’t have a job. Or…all the other adversities that we are facing at this time. But this message from Elder Oaks certainly hit home with me this year as I was trying to figure out just what I am thankful for. And it comes down to this…I am grateful for the experiences in my life that have shed the brightest of lights on all that I have been blessed with and more importantly: I am grateful for lessons learned. I am grateful that the Lord has given me chances to better myself and that He has made it abundantly clear that He has a plan for me.
And, more than anything, I am grateful for my Heavenly Father’s love for me. I am grateful that he sent His only begotten Son to die for me. And to die for my son who has died. That we might all be together: forEVER.
Certainly I missed Jack this Thanksgiving, and yes, I found a quiet moment to shed some human tears of sorrow. But the Spirit of the Lord continues to comfort me and grant me strength.
Enjoy some collages of the holiday festivites:
Pretty impressive that “Scrantonocity” won the Battle of the Bands. Their drummer only had one hand!