Institute Gratitude

You know, sometimes when things don’t go as planned, it’s actually because there are bigger blessings in the unplanned path.  So my plan this evening was to have dinner with the ballroom team, then go to their practice.  I considered whether I wanted to go to institute or not, all the way 45+ minutes away…but there’s only so many chances left to be with ballroom, that will end with the semester, but institute I can catch up on in the summer.   Though I will say the teacher is SOOOO funny, as all the teachers have been (as though it’s a prerequisite for the job or something)  and I have noticed I feel SOOO good when I go.  Even when I don’t catch the whole thing…the previous time I went, I had needed a blessing for a few weeks, hadn’t gotten the chance, and made it for the tail end, mainly went so I could ask for a blessing.  And I STILL gained something from those last little bits of it.  I’m coming to realize it’s not about the academic side, it’s not about the “spiritual lesson.”   That’s super-duper great, and if it gets in and sticks even if it doesn’t stay long in the conscious memory, it’s probably in the subconscious and will help us lead more effective and kind lives.  But it’s the energy and spirit that’s found there.  Not only gathering together in community, but getting to soak in that amazing spirit of peace that people always talk about feeling, and it is SUCH a JOY to experience!

So on the ride up, I was feeling some tension and hoping to come back to a peaceful place.  Some thoughts that were on my mind were times when we don’t feel like we are enough.  Times where people we love may say things that cause us to think they feel we are not enough for them.  I was thinking of the story of the mother who wasn’t going to see her daughter again and tells her she “wishes her enough”  *** Ok I’ve found it and it’ll be pasted below.  I’ve come across that story before, and I think there’s a reason it came into my consciousness again earlier this week.  SO many things have been lining up, and this day really combines quite a few.     I was thinking of this “enough” concept.  It was quite similar to a set of workshops I recently ran, not just about loving yourself and actively making the choice to do so.  But not WAITING till you reach perfection before you allow yourself to love yourself, to feel worthy of treating yourself kindly and without constant judgement and harsh words. 

So here I come skipping into the building knowing I’m approaching probably about half that I’ve missed already…I go to the room and instead of swinging the door open, decide to peek in the window first to see if I can spot a chair so I’m not making a grand spectacle of myself and causing more disruption than necessary.  But it’s not even our class!  It’s a group of ladies, and a teacher I don’t know.  But as I stop for just a moment to see what they are learning, I hear her say something to the effect of “and this is a very common problem women experience.  Thinking that we are not enough.”  WELL!  If that isn’t divine intervention/happenstance, I don’t know WHAT is!  I mean where do you think intuition comes from anyway?!   I mean it was the same words that I had in my own head less than one hour prior!  And Even before I had been thinking that even though it “didn’t work out” with my ballroom plan, one great thing I’ve noticed is that something said in class will mirror something I had been thinking that day or week!  How crazy is that!   And that wasn’t even my class!  Oh right, there was a note on the door saying it’d been moved down the hall….

Moving on to crazy stop #2.  I follow the voices that I’m hoping I will find to be my teacher and class….the door is open…I approach said open door.  Hoping that it’s the back of the class and I can slip in, again with minimal interruption.  Mmmm, not quite….it’s pretty much the front of the class…annnd there really aren’t many seats.  Thankfully I’m warmly welcomed and pointed to two possible options.  Now I start for a moment to one, and realize that will require sliding through the aisle and potentially bumping people with my backpack (which I finally cleaned our recently, and was surprised it was only 23 lbs, because it felt like 40!)  So I instead have to cross to the other side of the room and sit in the front row, but at least no backpack induced facial injuries were caused that day. 

It’s at this point I will tell you something else I was thinking of on the ride up…”gee, you know, many smart people love Jesus, and know how loving Jesus was, and loved Him for his lovingness.  You know, he didn’t really make much money, did he…but it seems that didn’t stop anyone from seeing his value…ok well maybe some people didn’t quite “get it” but I am pretty sure that didn’t really have anything to do with his lack of monetary accruement.”   Money, as we know is not something we can take with us.  Love, however IS!  I remember when my beloved bunny died.  I realized it wasn’t JUST that I missed her, and missed her company.  (To this day I still sometimes, when cutting celery, or an apple etc, will turn to give her part of it)  It was that the LOVE we had, all the love I poured into her, was gone with her.  That whole idea of “they took a piece of my heart when they left” it was so literal and tangible for me.  It was like that portion of my heart that had her name on it was buried with her.   And I would suppose that the love she gave me lives with me, because I think of her often.  And when I imagine how she’d snuggle with me, and I’d wrap her up in a towel because she’d calm down and feel secure and curl up with me for hours before telling me to put her back…I get to feel the relaxation and softening effect she’d always have on me.  In case I hadn’t been aware of it in 10,000,000 other ways.  Love is a thing! Love is tangible.  Love you can hold in your hands!

While I’d love to sit and bring my bunny back to my mind indefinitely, let’s step back to class in the meantime.  I think the question was something to the effect of: Jesus was this, this, this…. Our teacher said “I am a husband, father, and employee…where do I find instruction on how Jesus handled those roles?”  Ok thankfully I am able to take this from the notes some of our amazing classmates put up.  “How much of our lives do we actually model after what Christ did?  Also, how much CAN we model after what Christ did?  We learned earlier that Christ is almost exclusively recorded as doing things that we, or the people around Him at the time, could not do for themselves.”    Some of the answers:  “We can look at the way that He did things, rather than specifically at what he did.     It is important to be kind and righteous, as opposed to putting work first.   If we know someone (Christ, in this case) well enough, then we start being able to understand and predict how they will act in a situation that we have never seen them in.  We can use this to guess how Christ would react it, say, he were to be fired from His job—a situation that is recorded nowhere in scripture.”   My answer was referencing the fact that he had so much value, despite not being prolific in the money making department, and although often on Earth people value someone more highly because they make a lot of money, He modeled how to LOVE.  I said “I’m pretty sure He indicates we are to LOVE, all day every day.”         In the end, our teacher told us that God “gave us a flexible, profound gospel, and it is up to us to apply it and figure it out.”  It is our job to be worthy of the presence of the Holy Ghost, and to follow his influence in whatever situation we may be in.  We are not told exactly what to do in every situation because that would not help us to make our own decisions.    Personally I’ll add that we are totally informed of how to best conduct ourselves to retain companionship of the Holy Ghost and keep a healthy fitness with our spiritual tether to God…so it’s not some free for all and everything goes.  We have the choice or free agency to do whatever…but that’s not without consequence.  I’d say the big things, we know what to do and it’s clear and without wiggle room for some important things…. The rest… is for us to learn how to navigate.  It’s like we’re given a map showing us where to stay away from the Bermuda triangle and not crash into islands.  We have the choice to head straight into the rocky shore, or we can take the counsel and be like oh, yeah, not trying to die today!  However we get to choose which course we take, and which ports we visit.  As long as we are keeping away from that which we are informed is dangerous to our spiritual, physical, mental well-being, we get to choose what toppings to put on our delicious paleo-vegan ice cream, and which waves to surf.

Again, this is getting so much longer than I planned…but what’s new.  When I saw the “enough” lady I thought boy I really hope I get to see her later and thank her for that and find out more.  Another one of those moments where things line up perfectly.  I’m so often a lingerer and dawdler so was talking in the classroom when a friend suggested heading back to our original area to see where people were…so we resumed conversation over there, leaning on the walls, when I saw this lovely woman and darted over to her and had a wonderful conversation that really invigorated me!  Another great moment I had was that I had my extra green smoothie with me and that was hopefully all I would be eating.  Despite the M&M cookies a mere 3 feet away with double layers in the container, so more than enough to go around, I was able to resist without too much difficulty.  And that was great.  Health is more important than tasting something yummy.  It’s easier when it’s nothing I haven’t had before.  If it’s some exotic  flavor from the other side of the world, it’s much more compelling.  But thankfully usually places on the other side of the world eat a bit healthier than we do anyhow…so it works out.  Annnnd suddenly I’m imagining mango coconut sticky rice.  Very little to worry about there!

 Lastly I will comment on my gratitude that my dance friend informed me he was going dancing tonight at the dance place that I introduced him to.  I haven’t been going as much lately, and even though when I first informed him of it, he preferred a mixture of dances so it wasn’t really “his thing,”  he’d been going more often than I had for a while.  For whatever reason it means so much to me in situations like this when people let me know they are going somewhere especially that I acquainted them with.  I have had experiences in the past where people would “take that information and run” and even though they might never have known about it without me telling them, they then go with other people instead and it’s easy to feel very brushed aside and disposed of when that happens.  So even though it’s not like “an invitation” or suggestion, it means SO much to me that someone would let me know they will be there, in case I wanted to as well.  Even though I already have dance friends there, it feels doubly enjoyable to have church dance friends there, so I’d be more likely to choose that day to go as opposed to just any random day.  Although I talked so long that I only got there for the last few songs, and my friend had gone anyway, and I didn’t get back to ballroom at all, I was very pleased to get a few dances in.  And him simply informing me he’d be there gave me great comfort, and I felt included, accepted and validated.  So even though he wasn’t even there when I got there. It boosted my emotions immensely.  And for that I am so grateful.  For kindness, grateful for consideration, and grateful for thinking of how your actions impact those around you. 

I sit here.  And I feel love.  Because that is what I have chosen.  What a wonderful way to end the night and slip into sweet slumber.  



Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said:

"I love you and I wish you enough."

The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and the daughter left.

The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.

I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?"

"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"

She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.

"When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them". Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory,

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."

She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them.

- Author Unknown