Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thoughts on Happiness

I feel like something is happening in the world.

There is an incredible amount of suffering and sorrow in the world.

Or rather, the suffering is out there more.

Perhaps it's social media. Perhaps it's a modern day need to defy the traditions of the past that tell us to shut up about our struggles.

During the past month, I've heard the struggles of so many friends.

Three friends announced they were getting divorced.

Three in one month.

Two friends have cancer.  Very young, vibrant friends.

Children are dying.

Parents are suffering.

There's this heart ache in the air.

And yet, we move forward.

I can feel this wave of strength.

A friend watched her children testify against her husband after years of abuse. She was able to see this lying man receive a 20 year sentence after all the pain he put her children through. Every day, she makes decisions for the health and well-being of her little family. And every day, I see her gain more strength and more confidence as she has seen justice served and her lonely struggles vindicated by the courts.

Another friend, after years in a co-dependent and unhealthy relationship with a drug addicted man, is smiling and happy in her independence. She has finally embraced her life without him and the glow on her face in her new found strength is inspiring.

Amid their struggles and trials, men and women are moving forward and experiencing the joys of life in the midst of their struggles.

For me, happiness is not life without struggles. Happiness is hope in the midst of trial. Happiness is taking a moment to enjoy the little gifts that each day offers, in spite of the difficulties. The color of the sky, the laughter of a child, the feel of a breeze, a song. None of these blessings are less rich because we face heartache and difficulty.

In Mosiah 24:14-15 we read:

14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up theirburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
This is life. Amid the chaos and the confusion, life is good.

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