On my mission, I used to carry a little notebook around. I called it my “drops of sunshine” book. It was like a mini journal; I would write in it every day, listing anything remotely positive, any “drop of sunshine”, that I came across. Sometimes the things I listed were as big as an investigator saying that they wanted to get baptized or meeting an incredible family. Other times, most of the time, they were small things, like the sun is shining, the birds are singing, we didn’t miss the bus, someone actually smiled back at us. At the end of each day, I would read over the list I had created that day, reminding myself that even if all of our plans had fallen through that day, there were still small, beautiful things that God put in our path to let us know that He is there. The longer I kept my little book of “drops of sunshine”, the easier it was to be grateful despite my struggles.
Upon returning home from my mission, I fell out of habit. I stopped keeping up with my “drops of sunshine” journal. I gradually became less and less grateful and more and more angry and bitter about my trials. I couldn’t see the light in my life because I wasn’t looking for it anymore. I had resigned myself to the darkness I was in. My increasing negativity started to grow and get out of control.
It was only when I stopped and reflected that I realized what was happening. I realized I had stopped looking for those drops of sunshine because I thought that they were too small to have made a significant difference. But by the time I realized how much it had helped, I had already fallen a long way down. You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours”? I’ve always heard and thought about that phrase in the context of trials and problems. But why can’t it be the same with blessings? Sure, most of the things in my little book were tiny and insignificant, but that’s how raindrops are, aren’t they? A couple of drops don’t do much, but when you put a lot of raindrops together, they can make a pretty big downpour. So why can’t I have a downpour of sunshine every day, even in the midst of trials?
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “Everyone’s situation is different, and the details of each life are unique. Nevertheless, I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives. There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious. We can be grateful! It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.”
Making myself aware of the many drops of sunshine that fall in my path every day helps me to be more grateful and find more peace, despite my challenges in life. Gratitude truly does take away the anger and bitterness of life and the problems we face. Sure, the problems are still there, whether we’re grateful or not. But I’ve decided that it’s much more enjoyable to dance in a rain of drops of sunshine.