{Gratitude and Light} Allison

Allison Kimball and her husband are the parents to “nine of the most spectacular children”, using her own words.  This is what she says on her blog about their life with 9 kids:
“There are some days when the fighting is severe, when the messes seem to multiply, and I think it would be lovely to have only two or three children. I wonder  how I will ever survive all these children, but then I look around and ask, “Who would I give up?  Who could I do without?” The reality is none of them, even at their worst I love and adore them. I can’t imagine my life without them.”
She and her husband know very well what it is to be a parent.  Dictionary.com defines a “parent” as “a protector or guardian”.  Keep that definition in mind as you read Allison’s thoughts below:
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all of the others” – Cicero (106–43bc)
For many of us, the world is filled with instant everything– news, travel, food, etc. From smartphones to washing machines, almost everything I need is at my fingertips. But often when I look around me,  I see unhappiness or dissatisfaction.  Traffic gets us upset and when something doesn’t work the moment we want it to, we find waiting challenging. In addition, we compare our lives to those we see around us and on social media. For many of us hope can be lost when we don’t measure up to the perceived standard.
Perhaps that is extreme, but I have been known to spiral in an endless cycle of comparison and dissatisfaction. Just yesterday, I found myself despondent and overwhelmed by life and couldn’t understand the source of my gloom.
When this happens, I have forgotten the most important parts of life, what I value, and how abundantly blessed I am. I have forgotten the countless things that God has done for me and my family. Gratitude acknowledges God’s hand in our lives and, no matter the circumstance, there is always something to be thankful for.  I think this is why the scriptures admonish us to “live in thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38). Without daily remembrance,  we are so easy to forget and stray from our course.
In a world where instant gratification is the standard and comparison seems second nature (usually of my flaws to someone’s strength), I have to remember that gratitude is the antidote. Comparison doesn’t just steal joy, it robs you of light and hope. Gratitude brings patience, mercy, healing, love, joy, faith, and hope.  As Cicero explained, gratitude sets an example and teaches.

I’m not sure I’ve ever realized the fact that gratitude acts as an antidote for so many troubles.  But it makes perfect sense.  It’s why Cicero said gratitude is the “parent to all the other” virtues.  Gratitude “protects and guards” other virtues we possess.  It brings more light into our lives, which helps us better see our blessings.  When we recognize those blessings, we feel the joy and love and hope Allison mentioned.
When we don’t embrace and practice gratitude daily, however, the protector and safeguard of other virtues is gone- which explains why we so easily feel more vulnerable to the tough stuff when we aren’t filling our lives with gratitude.
I loved Allison’s example of this guarding virtue of gratitude.  She shared that gratitude guards her joy- rather than letting comparison take it away.
Here’s an example of what gratitude guards in my life.
For me, patience is a virtue I feel I lack- often.  With 4 little ones, all under the age of 7, there is a lot going on, at any given time.  When I forget to express my gratitude to Heavenly Father for them, that patience is gone.  However, when I see them for who they truly are and express gratitude for them in my prayers, as well as gratitude to them for the good kids they are, I have more patience.  I’m more forgiving and less likely to get upset over little things.  For me, #gratitiudeguards patience!
I’d like you to join me in celebrating gratitude this Thanksgiving week, by embracing the “parent of all” virtues and recognizing what other virtue is guards in you.  Use the hashtag I used above, “Gratitude Guards”, and tell me what virtue gratitude guards for you.
Leave a comment here, as well, and tell me, what virtue do you feel more strongly in your life when you are grateful?
You can find more lovely inspiration from Allison on her blog, www.allisonkimball.com and on IG @asimpleinspiration and @kimball_allison.  THANK YOU, Allison, for this beautiful lesson on gratitude.   I will forever view it with more awe as I see it as the “parent of all the other” virtues.