Gratitude: Appreciating the Scenic Route

LaurenNef-MontanaThe week before finals this semester was interesting, to say the least.

Usually, in my vernacular, interesting does not necessarily connote enjoyment.

Wednesday, my lymph nodes swelled to the size of ping-pong balls. The same night, I started to feel ultra sick. What made things worse was that I had to go on field trip for my natural disasters class the very next day, and I was not happy.

That night, a combination of pain, insomnia, and homework only allowed me to get 3 hours of sleep. I awoke early the next morning, got ready, and drug myself to the field trip.

Then I was stuck on an overheated, over-crowded bus for 7 hours seated in front of a girl with the voice of an annoying 12 year old who would. Not. Shut. Up.

After that experience, I at least had something to look forward to: my ward’s closing social (the last time I would see my amazing ward for the entire semester).

I hobbled back to my apartment and completely zonked out on my bed for a couple hours. But that caused me to almost miss the social .

After a brief freak-out session when I realized I had missed the first half hour of the event, I power-walked over to the gathering.

I came home afterwards exhausted from being sick and stressed. I didn’t sleep well that night, but I had gotten through the day.

However, I have so much more to be thankful for than just getting through the day.

Thursday was actually and amazing day; I just need to have the right perspective.

Since I was feeling awful all night, it was a miracle that I even got any sleep. I awoke in the morning and found that my roommate, Maddy, had made my lunch for the field trip and had left a really sweet note inside the lunch bag. I read it on the bus and it made me smile.

Plus the trip was gorgeous.

After driving 45 minutes out from Rexburg, we hit the caldera in Ashton…

and there was an actual forest.

My beloved trees

My beloved trees

Given that I am a girl who has lived off of the existence of trees for her entire life in California and that I had been deprived of the color green for months in the drab monotony that is Rexburg, you can imagine my excitement when I saw real plant life.

I just about cried, I was so happy.

In addition to all the wonderful plants, animals, and colors, I got to travel into Montana for a couple hours – something that I had not done before.

While in Montana, I realized that providence had smiled upon me that day, for I had luckily chosen to travel on the functioning bus. The other charter bus got stranded in West Yellowstone, and all the passengers were stuck there for hours.

We got back to the school ahead of schedule, giving me extra time to nap.

I woke up just in time and didn’t completely miss my ward’s social. In any case, most of the ward members showed up after I did.

Since I got my homework done early, I was able to deliver some cookies to my Family Home Evening brothers.

The week before finals this semester was interesting – but in a good way. I simply needed to shift my focus to the positive things the happened throughout the day.

It was true – I felt pretty awful on that Thursday, and several things did not work out the way I had planned. But the Lord offered me so many tender mercies that day as well. I had no right to complain.

So what if I had bumps in the road? If there were no bumps, I could not truly enjoy the smooth stretches.

So what if that immature girl behind me couldn’t stop griping? If she didn’t talk, I would not have been able to enjoy the silence as much, nor would I have realized just how blessed I was to be able to see the beauty in the world around me – beauty that she so unfortunately overlooked.

After I finally forced myself to look past all the negativity of the day, I felt so much peace and gratitude for what the Lord had given me. I felt less stressed, I didn’t feel as sick, I was able to complete assignments with ease.

I find that when I am more grateful, all my worries seem to fade away. Even when everything seems to be falling apart, gratitude keeps me from sinking beneath all my troubles.

“It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Gratitude in Any Circumstances” – April 2014 General Conference

He will send you trees, mountains, and sunny skies

He will send you trees, mountains, and sunny skies

The Lord truly wants all of his children to be happy. He will never send us anything we can’t handle, and He will take any and every chance He can get to bless us. We will always get by if we trust in Him and His timing. He will always send you down the right paths that will lead you back to Him.

We may wonder why we need to take certain back roads, but we can still appreciate the scenic route. In the meantime, He will send you trees and mountains and sunny skies to help you down the difficult road.

I know He will.



They are starting to put ads on our blog. We do not approve these and are not getting any residuals whatsoever, so I apologize for the content. I’ll see what I can do about it.


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