I lived during the Great Depression, when we had certain values burned into our souls. One of these values was gratitude for what we had because we had so little. Rather than becoming envious or angry because of what we did not have, many of us were grateful for the meager, simple things with which we were blessed, like hot, homemade bread and oatmeal cereal.
I remember my beloved grandmother, Mary Caroline Roper Finlinson, making homemade soap on the farm. The soap had a very pungent aroma and was almost as hard as a brick. There was no money to buy soft, sweet-smelling soap. On the farm, there were many dusty, sweat-laden clothes to be washed and many bodies that needed desperately a Saturday night bath. If you had to bathe with that homemade soap, you could become wonderfully clean, but you smelled worse after bathing than before. I have since developed a daily appreciation for mild, sweet-scented soap.
A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It helps us develop such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. Said the Lord, “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” (D&C 78:19).