Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Appreciation

Recently, we had a talk at Church by a famous author. He lives in our town and a member of our congregation. The brother spoke about how life was on the Alberta, Canadian prairie, many years ago. He said when he was little, one of best stories that he remembers reading in his primary reader-book was a story that touched his heart to always know and appreciate what he had in life. The story is by Laura Richards and called, The House With The Golden Windows.
The story was about a young boy who lived with his parents and family in a cottage and in his sight was far-away hillside that had a house perched on the top. He would watch every evening from his home to this house that was situated on the hillside in the distance. He always waited for the golden moment when the sun was setting and the house on the hillside would glow in a golden light and all the windows appeared to him, to be etched in gold. He thought the people in this house of "golden windows" were rich and happy because they lived in such a beautiful and marvelous house. The little boy always thought about living in a house that had "Golden Windows"  He thought that he could be happy forever if he had a house just like that one on the hill. The boy looked at his regular house with regular glass windows and thought how he wished his own home had the same beautiful glow.

The boy wished he could see the windows up close and meet the people that lived there, so he took a hike to see the house and it was much farther away than he had figured. The sun was setting before he reached the top of the hill. The boy looked at the house. It wasn't grand or large or even have "Golden Windows." The house had regular windows of very plain glass. It was a house that was similar to his own house, only it was not well-kept and tidy like his family took care of his home, this cottage on the hillside was smaller and run-down. The entire house was very plain and he was so sad that the house wasn't the dream home he expected.  The family walked out of the little home and asked him to spend the night and even offered him supper because it was already night-time and it would've been very hard to leave for home so late. While the boy ate with the family... he learned that they were very poor and they didn't have many visitors. 

The young boy awoke early in the morning before sunrise and got himself ready to go on his way. He had many chores at home and he would be late. As he started down the hillside, he looked to see if he could find his house. The sun was starting to rise and there he saw his home down in the valley below. The sunbeams of the morning lit the sky and to his great amazement his own house was ablaze with golden rays of light.

He never thought that his home could look so beautiful and have the windows that he had so recently wished he had. The boy raced toward home with a new appreciation and gratefulness for his home and parents and family. His lesson that day was that he had "Golden Windows" and he saw how blessed he already was with what he had in his life.

I'm so grateful for being at church and hear this beautiful talk by a very wise and wonderful man. It's made me think a lot about how I may perceive so much better off than I am. I don't mean that I'm wanting a new or fancy home, but the temptation is there to compare others, and a whole variety of different things, without any knowledge of their real circumstances. or how I may judge others to "be" in their life. I already knew it was wrong to judge in a bad way, but also we shouldn't ever judge anyone... in any light or compare ourselves.

This was a lesson that we recently had in Relief Society Conference and was repeated by a small parable by our dear brother. It was the same, but taught to us in story; those same things that President Uchtdorf had admonished to all of the sisters in Relief Society. We need to remember and not only be grateful for our lives we hold, but to be kind to our own circumstances. He said,  "God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect," he said. "Let me add: God is fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not. "President Uchtdorf said people often spend time and energy comparing themselves to others — usually comparing their weaknesses to others' strengths. "This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts, because they seem to be less than what someone else does. …"Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself." President Uchtdorf spoke about five different things he wanted us to remember and this one was the first.

This "The House With The Golden Windows" was a perfect story to cement in my mind how much I have to be grateful for here on earth and my "Golden Windows" are in rich abundance. Our joy is full... and both Steve and I know how blessed we are to have such a great family and a home that is filled with joy and even though, I have a lot of time alone, when Steve's on duty. Our house is never without the feeling of warmth, happiness, and love. We'll have a grand Thanksgiving.

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