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Brooke Stone of Mercy River

May 24, 2012

For Spring Break this year, my parents, sisters and I thought it would be fun to take our families on a little “staycation.” We booked rooms in a Salt Lake City hotel and planned a fancy dinner at the mall’s food court and a walk around Temple Square. Both activities were successful, but by the time the temple sightseeing was nearing an end, our kiddos were DONE. Between my two sisters and I we have seven kids, six of them three and under. So it was chaos.

Although they were getting tired, they had one more adventure in mind—riding Trax back to the hotel. (Trax is a lightrail system that runs through the city.) It sounded fun so I agreed. My husband, parents, and one sister’s family drove the cars back to the hotel, and the rest of us hauled our kids and strollers to the Trax stop. The weather was rapidly deteriorating, and by the time we got OFF the train it was downright freezing. There was a wind chill that seemed to rip through your clothes and smack your skin, and a light drizzle had begun. The raindrops were growing by the minute. Alas, we still had three blocks to walk from the Trax stop to our hotel. By this point I was pushing my coatless baby in the stroller and piggybacking my six year old. My sister was carrying her three year old, and her husband was pushing their baby in their stroller, with MY three year old sitting precariously on the back. And all five kids were bawling.

I was pretty grumpy. And cold. And exasperated. As we ran through the rain to our destination, I looked up and noticed we were approaching a homeless man on the side of the road. And I’m ashamed to admit, I assumed he would ask us for some change. In my frustration I was already thinking, “I don’t even have a free hand to look for some.” But he surprised me. As we passed by him, he looked me carefully in the eye and said only this:

“You are so blessed.”

It almost stopped me in my tracks. I managed to mumble a quick “thank you” as we passed, but all of a sudden I saw my situation through his eyes. He was right. I AM blessed. I am blessed to have three beautiful children. I am blessed to have strength to carry them. I am blessed to have had an opportunity to spend time with my family, parents and siblings.

I was amazed how easily I could get caught up in the craziness of my situation, and how quickly my frustration caused me to forget my blessings. I often think about that experience. It’s like that well known hymn…how does it go?

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Even in the middle of hectic days and stormy nights, Heavenly Father doesn’t leave us empty handed or alone. I am so grateful for that beautiful reminder from a wise stranger who helped me count my blessings. One by one.