The grateful heart I Worship

By Gordon Nishimoto, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Nov 22, 2017

Recently, I attended a memorial for my grandmother, Masae Sakuma Nishimoto (1914-2017).  I was overwhelmed by how thankful I felt to her and my grandfather for the life they created for their children and grandchildren.

My grandmother’s life was not easy, but she was always optimistic and happy, even as she went through a series of difficult events.

To begin, Masae’s mother died when she was only 13 years old, but Masae still graduated at the top of her class.  Later, her marriage license in Los Angeles, California showed that she was 17 years old when she married, and yet her marriage lasted for over 60 years, until my grandfather passed away.

Masae’s first child, a daughter, died at childbirth and yet she raised three college educated children.  The grocery store that Masae started with my grandfather struggled during the depression, but she constantly worked and there was always food for her family.

Finally, during World War II, she and her family were taken from California to a Japanese internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas.

After three years there, her family was released and they moved to Utah, where they moved into a horse barn.

Later, Masae turned the barn into a home and eventually purchased a farm and raised her family.

My grandparents were grateful for the lives they lived. As a teenager, I asked them if they felt bad about what had happened to them. They explained that they held no unkind feelings and that I should not either. Everything had worked out fine and they were happy how their family was doing.

In the Bible, there is a story that illustrates the importance of gratitude.

As Jesus went through Samaria and Galilee, he entered into a certain village, and there met him ten men that were lepers and who lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Jesus told them to go show themselves unto the priest.

As they did so, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back and with a loud voice glorified God. “And fell down … at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. Jesus answering said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.’ And he said unto him, ‘Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.’” (Luke 17:12–19.)

I wonder how it must make our Heavenly Father feel when His children don’t appreciate the things he has given them.  Perhaps, one of the keys to living a happy and faithful life is to be thankful.

A modern day apostle, Elder James E. Faust said, “A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. . . as with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.”

So, during this Thanksgiving time, may we all remember to be grateful.

I hope that the gratitude I feel for my grandparent’s life and devotion will be passed on to my children and to their children as well.

President Thomas S. Monson, who we revere as a living prophet has said, “Think to thank. In these three words are the finest capsule course for a happy marriage, a formula for enduring friendship, and a pattern for personal happiness.”   And so it is—a grateful heart is a key to our happiness and the happiness of those we love.  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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