Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another church talk

My topic was supposed to be gratitude and abundance. I mostly just talked about myself.
My name is Katie (insert last name here). I’ve been in the ward now for about 2 months, so if you still don’t know me, here I am for about the next 10 minutes.  The three most commonly asked questions people generally want to know about me so far have been, where I moved from, why I moved to Bountiful and how am I liking the ward. I usually give the reader’s digest version of my answers, but since I have some time to fill, and you have no choice but to hear me I’ll tell you a part my story.
I was born in Sacramento and then as a kid my family moved to Antioch in the east SF bay area in California, which is where my parents still live. The town I just moved from was Paradise, California which is about 2 hours north of Sacramento near Chico. I was there for a little over 2 years working at the local hospital as an RN.
I don’t have a logical reason as to why I chose Bountiful over any other place. I had moved to Paradise for a job and knew going there I wouldn’t want to stay there forever. I loved the hospital and people I worked with, and although I found a few treasured friends, my social life there was not what I wanted it to be. I knew something had to change when I finally had a Friday night off and decided to go for a run and watch a movie by myself rather than drive 40 minutes to go to a YSA activity where most of the crowd would make me feel matronly.
This past summer I had an experience at work that allowed me to reflect on the things I really wanted and which ultimately led me to move here. I was asked by my boss to apply for a position that had opened up in our unit. It was not a position I normally would have wanted or applied for on my own, but I was flattered that I was sought out and asked. I like to be helpful and I always feel that new experiences (especially at work) shouldn’t be passed over, so I applied and interviewed for that position. The first interview went really well. The second interview, not so much. Hands down the worst interview I’ve ever been a part of. I don’t know why, but I could not formulate an intelligent response to hardly any of the questions presented to me and I felt so dumb. I left the interview questioning if this was something I actually wanted? I got home and felt so uneasy I couldn’t sit down. I paced back and forth trying to figure out my feelings.
After several minutes of pacing (it might have only been a few minutes, I’m a terrible judge of time) I decided that if by some miracle they still wanted me for the position, I had to say no. That thought was followed with the impression that the time had come for me to leave Paradise. For my entire 2 years there, even though I knew I would leave eventually I always put off deciding where I would go telling myself it wasn’t time to worry about it yet, hoping something would just come to me because it was a hard decision. I thought to myself, ok then, if I’m not supposed to take this position, and I’m supposed to go away, then WHERE am I supposed to move to? And as soon as the thought passed, Salt Lake City came to mind. I had dismissed any idea of moving to Utah in the past, but this time I let that hang out in my head for a minute as I considered it, and as I did my unsettled feelings went away and I was finally able to sit down. It turns out they offered the position to another nurse who had applied with more experience than I had anyway, so I didn’t even have to tell them no and I had never been so grateful to have had a crummy interview.
Before I had enough courage to give my resignation, I kept wondering if I was doing the right thing and prayed and prayed and prayed for a reconfirmation of what I felt the morning after that awful interview. I was given the thought that it would be scary until I did it, and I just needed to do it, and it needed to be soon. I gave my work a month’s notice without having another job lined up or a place to live yet in Utah because I felt like it was the right thing to do and for some reason I just knew my last day at my previous job HAD to be no later than the end of August. I was checking out Utah nursing job postings daily, but knew that Utah wasn’t lacking in nurses and in order to be seriously considered for a job I would need to have a Utah address and a UT nursing license which I was still in the process of applying for. I expected I would be doing most of my job hunting once I arrived in the state, so I didn’t waste too much time applying for jobs during my last month in California, but I did apply to a couple just to test the waters. There was one job posting I found that I felt I just HAD to apply to even though I already threw out my couple “let’s see how this goes” applications with the expected rejection emails in return. I applied, never heard back from them and then never gave it much thought. I didn’t feel impressed to apply for any other jobs after that and spent my focus on finding a new place to live, completing my UT nurse license application and getting ready to move.
I took the week before my last week of work off and came by myself to Salt Lake City to find somewhere to live in person rather than just via the internet and get my fingerprints done in order to complete my application for a UT nursing license.  Every place I went to look at in Salt Lake felt wrong. I didn’t even have to get out of my car to see the inside of anywhere to know I wasn’t supposed to live in any of those places. It wasn’t until I checked out a few places in Woods Cross and Bountiful that I started feeling closer to right. It was the day before my last day in Utah and I had only one more place left to see in Bountiful, but the property manager or realtor or whatever he was couldn’t see me until the next day so I drove over to check out the outside and neighborhood anyway since I had nothing else to do. I loved the neighborhood, and even though I didn’t see the inside, I wasn’t feeling great about that place either. Something told me I should just keep driving around and maybe I’d see some kind of a sign, because this neighborhood was like the “hot” in the hotter colder game. 
Sure enough, after a few minutes driving down (insert specific street name here) there was sign with an arrow on it pointing down (insert another specific street name here) declaring there was a duplex for rent- which is what I was looking for. I didn’t want to have to live in an apartment complex. I drove until I found the matching sign in the yard and fell in love. It was the only place I had seen that I had any kind of positive reaction to. It was a strong “I really really want to live here, I am going to live here, I just have to live here” feeling. I called the number on the sign, left a message after a strange automated recording  worried that it wouldn’t work out, but feeling like it just had to and there was no way it couldn’t. It did. The owners called me back later that night. Everything about the place met my major needs and wants and was the right price. I was able to see the place the next morning, paid my security deposit that same day, was told I could move in any time after the current tenants were out after the 2nd week of September and I never felt so good about life.
A few days or so after my last day of work in CA I got a call from (insert specific hospital name here) asking if I was still interested in the job I applied for about 3 or 4 weeks prior. The next day I was driving back to Utah for an interview which went a million times better than the last one I experienced and I went home feeling really positive. A week and a half or so later I arrived in Utah for good, had a couple weeks to settle in, my Utah nursing license arrived safely in the mail well before my first day of work, and then started my new job that I had forgotten I had even applied for until they called me that turned out to be (insert specific number of miles here) away from the place I found and decided to live in. This hasn’t been the typical pattern in my life. I’ve grown to expect a bit more of a struggle and a lot of hard work and persistence before things usually work out like that for me. This experience was a very pleasant surprise.
I’m extremely grateful for the things in my life that have brought me to this point. Even the times that weren’t so great, and there have been a few. Many times the things I thought were the end of my world lent itself to even better things that I couldn’t have acquired without the previous trial and gave me a story to tell and something to remember how bad things can really be when I might get frustrated with how things are currently. I find that the things I’m least thankful for (like speaking in sacrament meeting) allow me to have a greater appreciation for the things I might otherwise take for granted (like sitting quietly in a pew listening to someone ELSE speak in sacrament meeting- I’m really jealous of all of you right now).
In a general relief society meeting in 2007, Bonnie Parkin described gratitude as: “… a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence.”
Happiness is my favorite emotion. If gratitude can help keep me there, I’m in.
Doctrine and Covenants section 98 verse one says, “Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks.”
And if just being thankful for what we have isn’t enough incentive for having an attitude of gratitude, Doctrine and Covenants section 78 v 19 promises, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.”
Most if not all of us here have been blessed with abundance. We are blessed with friendship, basic physical needs like food, clothes and a place to sleep, colors to see, a place to come to worship and partake of the sacrament, a way to repent and be happy, music, temples with all the blessings they contain, and many other countless blessings. Can you imagine an hundred fold more? Good thing our bodies will be perfected in the resurrection because they’re going to burst with gratitude if we don’t find a way to let it out.
So how do we do it? By what way can we show appreciation for the abundance we have been given? We can express our gratitude vocally, by saying thank you through prayer. Elder David A. Bednar has said, “The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests.
We can pay a full tithing. We can use the gifts we’ve been given: such as the atonement to repent, the sacrament to re-new our covenants, participate in temple work, use our talents in helping to build the kingdom, and rely on the holy ghost to help us make good choices in our lives, and keep the commandments.
And finally, to answer the third question about how I like the ward so far, I have been nothing but impressed with every person that I have met. I’ve been especially impressed with fast Sundays in hearing all of your testimonies, but be quite honest, I was a little disappointed because I’m an evil person and I find disastrous testimony meetings to be rather entertaining. But everybody was perfectly appropriate, uplifting and inspiring. I can tell you’re a good bunch, and I’m grateful to be here with you. I am grateful to be a part of this church, for prophets and for the scriptures. I’m grateful for my Heavenly Father and his plan, I’m grateful for my savior Jesus Christ and for his love and sacrifice so that we would not be lost. I’m somewhat grateful for trials but more so for the immense joy I feel in the blessings that follow but couldn’t experience without. I’m grateful for the Holy Ghost and for the guidance I receive, especially since it brought me here. And now, I am grateful that this talk is over.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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