I have officially decided not to count my blessings this year. For Thanksgiving we frequently put a paper tree on the wall and add leaves listing the things we are grateful for. We like colorful leaves; frequently purple and pink and blue. I generally like to post a grateful moment every day on Facebook. For whatever reason this month has not been a month of gratefuls. Every time I start thinking of things to be grateful for, I find my mind filling with things I’m not grateful for. Instead of counting, I’m separating. I’m separating the things I’m grateful for and what I’m not grateful for. For whatever reason, that’s not developing happy feelings.
I’ve stopped posting gratefuls on Facebook. I didn’t even make the tree.
Some of the things I’m not feeling grateful for are huge. My brother died. Posting how grateful I am for chocolate doesn’t really touch that. 1 does not equal 1. Most of my normal gratefuls seem frivolous and meaningless right now.
In another attempt to foster thankful feelings I listened to my Thanksgiving playlist.
On my playlist is a song traditionally sung at Passover: Dayenu. The song goes through fifteen wonderful gifts given to Jewish people, ranging from bringing the people out of Egypt to miracles in the wilderness, to gifts available now to all Jewish people like the Torah and Shabbat. The chorus is dayenu, which literally means “it would have been enough.” Any one gift would have been enough. The weight of the gifts is so amazing and endless that any number of problems, no matter how great, is overwhelmed by them.
I was reminded of a quote from a friend as he returned from his missionary service. He said, “The bad outnumber the good, but the good outweigh the bad.” I know that principle very well. It applies to babies so easily. You can count stinky diapers. You can check hours spent pacing the floor awake. You can count messes cleaned and life interrupted. But how does that compare to two sticky hands turning your face towards their little face to give you a kiss? There is no comparison.
I’ve decided to not count my blessings this year. I’ve decided that in the spirit of Dayenu, the weight of a very few blessings is enough.
I’m grateful for Jesus. He is my Savior and friend. He comforts me when I’m sad. He reaches for me when I struggle or sin. He seeks after me. He is so patient with all of my questions and wonderings. He helps my children in countless ways that I could never manage. He has gently covered me with peace and provided little tender mercies during times of heartache. He offers hope for me to see those I love again. He gave His life for me. He has saved me and continues to save me. If God had given me nothing else in this life. If God had given me nothing else but His Son, it would have been enough.
I’m grateful for this earth. I love mountains and the ocean and waterfalls and sunsets and clouds and rain and sunshine. I have spent many hours enjoying this beautiful world. It brings a very unique kind of peace to be far away from anything cement or plugged in and sit on a rock leaned up against a tree. There is something so powerful, and calming about a waterfall, or the ocean, or a small stream. Natural arches, the Grand Canyon, little caves and the smallest little butterfly amaze me. Hiking, camping, and walks have been a fabulous part of my life. If God had only given me this earth it would have been enough.
I’m grateful for my husband. We’re coming up on our 20 year anniversary. He listens to me talk endlessly about whatever is currently the passion. He not only humors my piles of books; he reads them and adds to it. He knows just when to not take things personally and just get me some sleep while he takes over. He has so often been what I needed, even unbelievably so, whether that is becoming Mr. Everything while I was on bedrest, to delivering our baby before the midwife arrived, to pitching in when he comes home to chaos, to remembering to check the laundry at night to see if it needs to be rotated. He is brave enough to have the children God wants us to have, which is no small feat. He prays with me, mostly refuses to fight with me, sings to me and still makes me blush. How is it that I have been loved so long and so well? If God had given me no other blessing but my husband, it would have been enough.
I’m grateful for my children. I have always wanted a big family. Always. But, somehow, I got that wish. I know so many people who were not able to marry or have the children they longed for…I don’t understand it. It hurts. I don’t know why I have this blessing. I’m so very grateful for it. Each child is so unique and such an addition to my life, it amazes me that I have been able to have them. Today eight little people were outside playing football with dad as a light rain started down. Listening to the laughter, seeing the smiles, watching 6-year-old run the wrong direction, seeing the 1-year-old try to keep up. 16-year-old was inside getting ready for a date. 18-year-old was finishing a paper for college. How do you measure that piece of heaven that is a home full of happy children well-occupied? Thanks to my children I am kissed and hugged a great deal more than I ever could have anticipated. Daily. There
is so much creativity and music and humor and rocks that naturally come into your life with a big family. To have been blessed in such a big way with something I always wanted, that could have not happened at all because of something so simple as biology…If God had given me no other blessing, it would have been enough.
Four blessings. Each one alone would have been enough. Yet as I consider the weight of these blessings, other immeasurable blessings rush to my mind: music, the temple, the family I was born in to, the scriptures., my country.. I don’t want to count them. I just want to be still and feel the weight of them spill over me and think to myself that it is more than enough.
Britt grew up in a family of six brothers and one sister and gained a bonus sister later. She camped in the High Sierras, canoed down the Colorado, and played volleyball at Brigham Young University. She then served a mission to South Africa. With all of her time in the gym and the mountains and South Africa, she was totally prepared to become the mother of 2 sons and soon to be 9 daughters. By totally prepared she means willing to love them and muddle through everything else in a partially sleepless state. She is mostly successful at figuring out how to keep the baby clothed, or at least diapered, though her current toddler is challenging this skill. She feels children naturally love to learn and didn’t want to disrupt childhood curiosity with worksheets and school bells. She loves to play in the dirt, read books, go on adventures, watch her children discover new things, and mentor her children. Her oldest child is currently at a community college and her oldest son is going to high school at a public school. She loves to follow her children in their unique paths and interests. She loves to write because, unlike the laundry and the dishes, writing stays done. Whenever someone asks her how she does it all she wonders what in the world they think she’s doing.