Many years ago, I was the first to record the lovely hymn “Because I have been given much” written by Grace Noll Crowell, and set to music by Philip Landgrave for the 1985 edition of our Hymnbook. Steven Kapp Perry, with whom I was working back ‘in the day’ had the task of getting permission to record it.  It was a little project of love and happiness from beginning to end of the album.

I share this because the entire experience is such a beautiful memory for me, and reminds me- each time I recount the recording – of the immense number of things for which I can be grateful. It probably set in motion for me a whole new, deeper process of pondering over the little things that make life better. Or richer. Or more meaningful.

You, like I, probably are surprised looking back – to realize many of those blessings given were hard things, turbulent times, or dark tunnels through which we had to crawl through. On the other end was more light and understanding. More knowledge and experience. We can better understand, a little bit, Joseph Smith’s tumultuous times when he was tutored by the Lord and told, “…above all, ….know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” [Doctrine and Covenants, 122:7]

We, like the prophet, come to see that tough times bring some of the brightest blessings of our mortal experience. We have more to sing about, either literally or figuratively, by virtue of our greater understanding!

If you have ever created a project, written a paper, put together an event, or cooked a meal, the process of planning, gathering [whether ideas, people, tools, or food] and unfolding are much the same.  Our lives seem to follow this kind of pattern.  Many times, things don’t go as planned! Often, we must go back to the beginning and re-work. On occasion, we might go in a very different direction. Sometimes it is a crazy, difficult ride. But when it’s over, we look back and reflect on what we’ve learned, the new friends made or principles that enlightened our minds.

We are grateful to have seen it through to fruition. We’re thankful – maybe just to have it over with! But eventually, we see with clearer eyes, and realize there was more to the occasion [or the journey, the event, or offering] than we accepted earlier.  We’ve been polished up a bit more, and feel “more fit for the kingdom.”

What a grand gift it is – as a trade off for getting older- to learn a thing or two about all I’ve been given.  Looking back, it’s clear to see, while it may not have registered at the time of the ‘learning.’ It grants me more hope as I move forward – knowing our Father in Heaven has me in his watch care, knowing exactly what I need.

It allows me to hang on, recognizing that I should “Therefore, hold on (my) way, and the priesthood shall remain with (me); for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. (My) days are known, and (my) years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with (me) forever and ever.” [Doctrine and Covenants 122:9]

I have been given much!