During this holiday season, I am grateful to the men and women who do all the things I cannot do.
I am grateful for airplane mechanics and pilots who keep flying safe.
I am grateful for people who plow and salt the roads on darkened nights.
I am grateful for cheerful store clerks. Scanning thousands of items while smiling seems an impossible task. As does growing groves of oranges. I am grateful for our farmers.
I've always been intrigued by jobs. I'll pick up an item and think, "Someone made this. Someone figured out how to do this." From the intricacy of my smartphone to the Instapot that sits on my counter, I'm grateful for inventors and manufacturers.
I'm grateful to the engineers and builders who erect houses and bridges. People who study disease and medicine. People who study the mind.
The other day, I hired cleaners to clean my house. Never in my life have I done this — I always thought it uppity to have someone else scrub my toilets. I am pioneer stock. I should scrub my own bathrooms.
But it's been a particularly busy December, and it was time to call in reinforcements. Six hours later, walking through the cleanest house known to mankind, I was exceedingly grateful for cleaners who know how to dust, polish and fish 15 pencils out of the couch with such efficiency.
I realized this was their art, their livelihood. I am so grateful for that. (And I'm never going back!)
Living in a 100-year-old house, with constant "surprises" around every corner, I'm grateful to plumbers, carpenters, people who specialize in insulation, heating units, roofs, drainage and electricity.
I'm grateful to those who sacrifice stability to dream big and start companies, tell jokes, write books and belt show tunes. They put so much on the line. Not everyone is willing to take that risk, but they make the world bright and beautiful with their talent.
I just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. Touring the galleries and storied Smithsonian made me grateful for those who curate our complex history into beautiful museums; for those who build monuments to the past. I'm grateful to our military for keeping our nation safe, and those who insist on checks and balances and due process.
As I teach kindergarten this year, I am increasingly grateful to the teachers who teach my own children pre-calculus, physics, Latin, Japanese, English and violin. They do so with very little recognition and pittance pay.
I'm grateful to those who take care of our elderly, and social workers who put children in safe places. I'm grateful for shelters to house our homeless, and all people willing to give of their excess to those in need. I'm grateful for organizations that empower the disadvantaged.
I am most especially grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who did what none of us can do. A divine child born into humble circumstances, I'm grateful for his life, mission and ministry.
This time of year marks winter solstice, the return from darkness to light. As we pass from one year into the next, I am glad to be one in 7.7 billion people living the human experience, drawing upon the collective gifts, talents and work of others. I can't do anything more than be grateful.