Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank You

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and gratitude. There are so many things I’m grateful for today. As I think about the blessings in my life, I’m reminded of how important the little things are. Like the paper turkey my little boy made for me today, or the laughter and fun that we enjoy in our family. But there are so many other things and people that I’m grateful for I wonder if I could truly list them all. Thomas S. Monson reminded me of some things about gratitude and blessings in September 2005 and I wanted to share part of what he said with you today.

"We are thankful for blessings we cannot measure, for gifts we cannot appraise, “for books, music, art, and for the great inventions which make these blessings available[;] … for the laughter of little children[;] … for the … means for relieving human suffering … and increasing … the enjoyment of life[;] … for everything good and uplifting. . . ”

“I would like to mention three instances where I believe a sincere “thank you” could lift a heavy heart, inspire a good deed, and bring heaven’s blessings closer to the challenges of our day.

First, may I ask that we express thanks to our parents for life, for caring, for sacrificing, for laboring to provide a knowledge of our Heavenly Father’s plan for happiness.

From Sinai the words thunder to our conscience, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

I know of no sweeter expression toward a parent than that spoken by our Savior upon the cross: “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

“Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

Next, have we thought on occasion of a certain teacher at school or at church who seemed to quicken our desire to learn, who instilled in us a commitment to live with honor?

The story is told of a group of men who were talking about people who had influenced their lives and for whom they were grateful. One man thought of a high school teacher who had introduced him to Tennyson. He decided to write and thank her. In time, written in a feeble scrawl, came the teacher’s reply:

“My Dear Willie:

“I can’t tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my 80s, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely and like the last leaf lingering behind. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years, and yours is the first note of appreciation I have ever received. It came on a blue, cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing has for years.”

We owe an eternal debt of gratitude to all of those, past and present, who have given so much of themselves that we might have so much ourselves.

Third, I mention an expression of “thank you” to one’s peers. The teenage years can be difficult for the teens themselves as well as for their parents. These are trying times in the life of a boy or a girl. Each boy wants to make the football team; each girl wants to be the beauty queen. “Many are called, but few are chosen” could have an application here.

Let me share with you a modern-day miracle which occurred several years ago at Murray High School near Salt Lake City, where every person was a winner and not a loser was to be found.

A newspaper article highlighted the event. The article was entitled “Tears, Cheers and True Spirit: Students Elect 2 Disabled Girls to Murray Royalty.” The article began: “Ted and Ruth Eyre did what any parents would do.

“When their daughter, Shellie, became a finalist for Murray High School homecoming queen, they counseled her to be a good sport in case she didn’t win. They explained only one girl among the 10 candidates would be selected queen.

“As student body officers crowned the school’s homecoming [royalty] in the school gym Thursday night, Shellie Eyre experienced, instead, inclusion. The 17-year-old senior, born with Down syndrome, was selected by fellow students as homecoming queen. … As Ted Eyre escorted his daughter onto the gym floor as the candidates were introduced, the gym erupted into deafening cheers and applause. They were greeted with a standing ovation.”

Similar standing ovations were extended to Shellie’s attendants, one of whom, April Perschon, has physical and mental disabilities resulting from a brain hemorrhage suffered when she was just 10 years old.

When the ovations had ceased, the school’s vice principal said, “ ‘Tonight … the students voted on inner beauty.’ … Obviously moved, parents, school administrators and students wept openly.”

Said one student, “I’m so happy, I cried when they came out. I think Murray High is so awesome to do this.”

I extend a heartfelt “thank you” to one and all who made this night one ever to be remembered. The Scottish poet James Barrie’s words seem appropriate: “God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.”

President Monson’s words are so eloquent in reminding me to express my gratitude more often for all the people in my life like my parents, my teachers, and my peers. I am so grateful for all of them and for what they’ve done for me. I have a lot of wonderful memories for the December of my life thanks to love and friendship, including those of you on this blog---both readers and contributors.

Thank you---and Happy Thanksgiving.


At 11/26/2009 1:26 PM, Blogger Michele said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/26/2009 1:30 PM, Blogger Michele said...

Thank you Julie for being my friend and example. Without you and your guilt trips ;)(couldnt think of another word to use) I wouldnt be where I am today. You are an amazing women and an awesome friend. Happy Thanksgiving! Love ya!


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