The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Saturday, April 3, 2010]


I have been thinking a lot lately about opposition, and how it helps me feel grateful. The principle of opposition is one that confused me when I was younger--I remember reading Second Nephi and thinking Huh?? But once I got it, I loved it. A few weeks ago, this was part of the lesson I was teaching my class of 8-10-year-olds at church. They were learning about the Fall, and Eve's comment that she was grateful for opposition, because passing through sorrow would allow them to feel joy. This was hard for the kids to understand, but one activity was helpful. The manual suggested using a flashlight with the lights on and then off, pointing out to the children that the light from the flashlight was more apparent when the lights were off. We need darkness in order to see light. We need contrast.

Many people's favorite color is blue. If the whole world were blue, everything in the world, then no one would like blue. It would just be what everything was. If another color were introduced, only then would you be able to say, "Oh, I prefer blue than this other thing."

Opposition helps me to feel gratitude. Because of that nasty experience with bed bugs, I am so grateful for a clean home, where I don't need to be scared to fall asleep. Honestly, I think about this at least once a week. Because of my pain, I can really appreciate the times when my body is pain-free. In fact, the best I've ever felt has been directly after a time of severe pain. When the pain subsides, a combination of joy, relief, and gratitude rushes into its place.

If I never had any pain, I don't think I could truly appreciate having a body that doesn't hurt. I never find myself grateful for my vision, probably because I've never been without it. Vision is such a wonderful thing, when you consider it. But my appreciation for my vision is more cognitive than emotional. I don't know any other way to be.

I guess the important thing is to recognize the opposite of the bad things we experience and remember the bad things when their opposites occur. Bad experiences are not pleasant. But without them, good experiences are not pleasant either.


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