June 13th, 2010


Gratitude and family history

In Relief Society today, the question was asked "How can we show our love for the Lord?" I tried to answer, but I don't think I explained it as well as I wanted to, so I'm going to try again!

While there are many right answers to this question, I think a very important one is gratitude. Too often we tend to focus on everything that's terrible about our lives, even though chances are there's a ton of awesome stuff going on, too. For example, there's a roof over our heads, and we don't have to be out in the 90+ degree whether. That's pretty awesome.

But anyway, I think it's important to acknowledge when things are going well, because it's like this: If someone gave me some super awesome birthday presents, but all I could focus on was that they didn't give me Final Fantasy XIII, they would be pretty ticked off that I didn't show a shred of appreciation for the new t-shirts, the fancy lunch at Ariel's Grotto, the ride to Disneyland, etc. (Note: these are just examples; we're really not upset about not having Final Fantasy XIII.)

Also at church today, we had another family history class! I think all the stuff we're learning in class is stuff we already knew, but put in perspective, so it's like, "Oh yeah! I do have some idea how to do this!" See, in the LDS church, they keep talking about "family history work," which mostly entails figuring out who all your ancestors are and doing temple work for them. And they would keep saying "do your family history work" as if we had any clue how to just go find out who our ancestors are. I think the mental block I had with this whole thing is that it's something you can't really do without talking to people. But when you think about it, it's like, "Oh yeah, I can just ask Grandma!" Duh.

I really think we need to get over this irrational fear of relatives. Fortunately, our relatives aren't afraid of us (we think *grin*), so a couple months ago, we got to talk to Grandma on Mom's side, and she told us a little bit about some of our ancestors who fought in the Civil War, which was pretty cool to hear about. And! we were smart enough to save the conversation! (When I typed "a couple months ago," Athena said, "I think it was more than a couple months ago; I think it was like a year." So we checked when the file was made, and lo and behold, it was almost exactly one year ago. That just goes to show what a good sense of time I have.)

I won't copy what she said exactly, because I don't have her permission, but I will paraphrase! She told us about our great-great-great-grandfather, who only fought for the Confederacy because they threatened to shoot anyone who wouldn't. So it was either fight and maybe die, or not fight and definitely die. (She explained that the Civil War was a rich man's war--anyone with more than twenty slaves was exempt from fighting.) He later went AWOL to visit his wife, but then got caught and sent to a Yankee prison, where he died. Our great-great-grandfather was born nine months later and never knew his father.

It's a sad story, but we're glad to have heard (read) it.

Today I'm thankful for Oreo eating his dinner, my slipper being miraculously spared the results of Oreo going on another hunger strike, getting to know a little more about our ancestors, getting a ride home after choir practice, and the substitute choir director bringing chocolate covered almonds for the choir (one of the choir members was like, "Chocolate is bad for you when you're going to sing!" and she was like, "I know, but... *shrug*"; we knew, too, but we decided not to care).