This project required me to write and design a two-page spread for an LDS magazine. I chose to prepare my article for the Ensign, which contains material often delving deeper into gospel principles, and clarifying gospel truths. My audience is young adults and adults who would like to better recognize God’s blessings in their lives and gain a more positive perspective. My audience also encompasses anyone seeking to live life with greater optimism and trust in God. I wrote about an experience I had in college which expanded my understanding of God’s blessings in our lives, and the ability (and inability) to recognize and see these blessings. I’ve posted my experience here, along with the image I would like to use in my design.
Looking at the glass, many of us view it as half-full. The rest of us consider it half-empty. What if neither perception is accurate, though? What if the truth has been camouflaged right in front of our eyes, just waiting for us to see more clearly? And what if this new perception of the glass and its contents is a perfect symbol for the blessings in our lives?
I was sitting at an afternoon devotional my first year of college, when the speaker began to talk about the blessing of a positive attitude and perspective in life; in choosing to view the glass as half full. As he talked, he picked up a clear glass partially filled with water to illustrate his point. When I looked at the glass that day, something peculiar happened to me. The speaker’s voice faded from my thoughts, and a new idea came to mind; “That glass isn’t half full. It’s completely full.”
Continuing to explore this new perception, I explained to myself; “Yes, it’s half-full of liquid, but the other half is filled with air. That means it’s completely full.” I paused to consider whether this was a legitimate perspective, and my reasoning continued; “Yes, air has mass and is measurable.” I thought of the power and strength of air, from it filling up a balloon, to keeping airplanes in the sky, to carving mountains to dust over time. There was no question; this was a valid perspective.
I looked back at the air-filled portion of the glass. That’s when the big epiphany hit me. Not only was the glass filled at the bottom with liquid, and filled at the top with air, but the air at the top continued! It expanded from the glass into the entire room, filling this enormous chapel. I realized the glass is not only full, it is overflowing!
I caught my breath as I tried to wrap my mind around the magnitude of this idea. The air in the chapel extended far beyond, into the rest of the building, outside the building, and into the atmosphere of the earth! I sat in shock at the idea of such a colossal comparison of the amount of this overflowing air to the tiny bit of water which the speaker and attendees were currently focusing on.
My curiosity piqued again. Why had I never heard this before? Why hadn’t anyone presented this third option; this incredible truth? And I realized: we don’t give much credit to the things we can’t see or handle. In this case, we simply don’t consider air to be worth mentioning.
I began defending the air and its importance to myself. Water, I knew, was life sustaining. A person can’t survive more than a few days without it. But air is much more vital than water. A person can’t survive more than a few minutes without air. Yet we rarely, if ever, give credit to the air we breathe which keeps us alive. The air—this gift we’ve been universally given—is overflowing in our lives, and we don’t even realize it. We rarely acknowledge or give any thanks for it; instead, we largely ignore its presence.
I see the blessings in our lives much like this glass. God has given us certain tangible, touchable, measurable blessings in our lives. These are represented by the liquid, or water, in the glass. They fill a portion of our lives, and we can recognize them, categorize them, and often touch and measure them.
The deeper blessings, though—the life-sustaining ones—are represented by the “invisible” air filling the rest of the cup and overflowing into eternity. These are blessings such as love, faith, intelligence, kindness, hope, good health, mercy, forgiveness, and a vast array of all other blessings—ones we can give names to, and ones we have no description for; ones we can acknowledge and recognize, and others which only God is aware of. Some people might argue that we are given equal amounts: the water and the air are equal. For those of us who have eyes to see, though, we realize these “invisible” gifts extend into eternity. There is no limit or end to them, and they are every bit as real as the “tangible” gifts.
Simply put, our lives are overflowing with blessings. Always. Even if you emptied the glass of every drop of liquid, it is still overflowing with air. We are always blessed with an overflowing abundance of God’s gifts in our lives. May we strive to better recognize and give thanks for this abundance in our lives and to see our glass not half empty, not just half full, but overflowing with an immeasurable supply of precious gifts, seen and unseen, from God.
Image and Image Link: