Gratitude is a cornerstone to my spiritual practice. It is something I seek actively on a daily—and sometimes hourly—basis. When I practice gratitude, I perceive a richer and more abundant life. Keeping my focus on what I do have—and not on what I lack—enables me to be a better brother to my fellows, and a better disciple to my Savior. And as a wise friend once said to me, if I’m not grateful for the love I have in my life today, do I genuinely think I could appreciate more?
I used to gravely misunderstand the concept of gratitude. I thought it was the happiness I felt when life unfolded according to my plans. I thought it was the momentary, fleeting high I felt when my desire for instant gratification was filled.
Today, I know better. Gratitude is not only an integral part of my spiritual practice; it is the means through which I achieve inner peace whenever I notice I’m straying off course.
Gratitude opens my heart to the healing hand of my Savior. When I remember to seek His will for me above everyone else’s, peace is my companion. I believe it is His will to be my authentic self, pray, meditate, talk to Him about all aspects of my life, sing in the shower, and laugh at my own foibles.
Looking back over the past 12 months, we as LGBT Mormons, allies, and as a human family as a whole, have much for which to be grateful. Here are a few of my favorites.
- For the first time in history, we saw LGBT Mormons, their families, and allies march together in almost twenty PRIDE celebrations across the planet—holding signs that ranged from “LDS love LGBT” to “This Mormon Mom supports your right to marry.” In every single case, the outpouring of love, healing, and unity at these celebrations ranked among the most spiritually moving experiences marchers—and onlookers—ever had.
- We’ve seen the release of Family Acceptance Project materials designed specifically for Mormon families, that teach parents and leaders how to respond to LGBT Mormon youth in a way that keeps them safer from significant health risks—including depression and suicide. What’s amazing about this smart, spiritual research is it put data behind what we knew in our hearts all along as LGBT Mormons: If you’re just a little more kind to us, if you’re just a little more loving and inclusive, you’ll keep safer, happier, and more whole.
- No gratitude list, however brief, would be complete without recognizing my amazing Bishop, Don Fletcher, and the atmosphere of our Savior’s unconditional love he strives to create within our faith. There is no bishop’s interview to undertake to be part of our ward family. There is no test to take to sit in church every Sunday. Everyone is welcome, exactly as they are—and that’s exactly as it should be.
- But most of all, I’m grateful to have my Savior as my champion, my ally, and my friend. Without Him, none of the rest would have been possible.
This moment gives birth to the next. If I fill this moment with gratitude, the next can’t help but be filled with peace.
What will your next moment bring?