Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hope, Optimism, Faith, & Gratitude

As you might remember, towards the middle of September, I went to the hospital to have a baby. I stayed in the hospital, recovering, learning how to take care of my daughter, and fielding phone calls from friends and family for the next few days, and then I stayed at home for about a week after that, only leaving for doctor's appointments or critical errands. When I wasn't out doing those things, I could be found holding and loving my baby. I didn't watch television, I didn't listen to the radio. I didn't check the news sites that I often check, and my conversations with other people were pretty much Heather-focused.

So, I was basically oblivious to the whole financial crisis that was brewing during that time. By the time I did tune in to what was going on in the world, newscasters and regular people alike were panicking, telling the gloom and doom stories, opining about the wisdom of a multi-billion dollar bailout, and (most concerning to me), predicting that the U.S. was headed into another Great Depression. I tried not to panic.

Since then, I've reminded myself often that when I worry about things over which I have no control, I invariably get myself into trouble. I take deep breaths, avoid listening to the news most of the time, and pray. I take comfort in the fact that Eric and I are currently living on less than we earn, that we have some emergency savings, and that our house payment is very affordable. I also recently put a moratorium on Eric telling me how much the Dow has lost each day.

Doing all that has helped me to quell the fears and the "what-ifs" that would threaten to overcome me if I allowed them to do so. All the same, I'd been looking forward to this month's General Conference with more fervency than I had since the fall of 2001. I was hoping and assuming that as the prophets and apostles spoke to me, that I would find peace, calm, and even some practical advice as to what my course should be in these turbulent times.

The General Conference was held last weekend, and as usual, I wasn't disappointed. I leave you with some of the words that were most helpful for me. (The entirety of the conference can be watched or read on line at this site.)

Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future. In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good” as we follow the counsel of God’s prophets.
--President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor to President Thomas S. Monson (emphasis added)

* * *

Those of us who have been around a while . . . have recognized certain patterns in life’s test. There are cycles of good and bad times, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness, and times of plenty as well as scarcity. When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress and anxiety. One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us—to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic. Perhaps when difficulties and challenges strike, we should have these hopeful words of Robert Browning etched in our minds: “The best is yet to be”. We can’t predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond the shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come.
--Elder L. Tom Perry, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (emphasis added)

* * *

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.

[Another] thing we can do is understand the principle of compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.

--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

* * *

I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He would fight our battles, our children’s battles, and the battles of our children’s children.” And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray always, and be believing. Then all things shall work together for our good, if we walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith we have covenanted.” The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be believing and remember our covenants.

--Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (emphasis added)

* * *

We see increased conflict between peoples in the world around us. Those divisions and differences could infect us. That is why my message of hope today is that a great day of unity is coming. The Lord Jehovah will return to live with those who have become His people and will find them united, of one heart, unified with Him and with our Heavenly Father.

You have heard that message of unity from me more than once. . . The Lord’s prophets have always called for unity. The need for that gift to be granted to us and the challenge to maintain it will grow greater in the days ahead, in which we will be prepared as a people for our glorious destiny.

My message is that we are doing better.

--President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor to President Thomas S. Monson (emphasis added)

* * *

Brothers and sisters, my sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey.

--President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Harmony said...

Amen. said...

i absolutely loved reading these exerpts from general conference. i will use many of them in some talks that i have to give at ward conference. you are great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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