I have been thinking alot lately about finding joy in life. Each day I am overwhelmed with the simple pleasures in life. I have been finding myself getting more and more distressed over silly things instead of finding the joy in everything. I have noticed that this has been making me not such a great wife or friend at times. The lesson in Relief Society today was on finding joy, laughing at all lifes moments and having faith. It was really a lesson I needed to be reminded of. I have not had the easiest life but I have normally been very good at being optimistic, finding the good in everything and being pretty easy going. I dont know what it has been that has gotten me so out of sorts lately but I have slowly been realizing that I am not as truly happy as I used to be.
I once read a story about a couple who went on a long road trip. They got home from their trip late at night and were too tired to unload their car, so they decided that it could wait until the morning. When they awoke the next day they had a very unpleasant surprise, their car had been stolen. Everything was in their car, DVD player, cds, family pictures, clothes, movies, toys, and many other things that would be missed. After staring at the spot where their car was supposed to be for about 2-3 minutes the husband broke out into hysterical laughter, he laughed so hard his sides hurt. The wife looked at him in disbelief, “What is wrong with you? We have just lots so many things, do you realize what this is going to do to us?” Her husband stopped laughing and looked at his wife, he took a deep breath, got very serious and responded, “No matter what we do, nothing will change what happened. We can however control how we react to it. We can be happy and laugh at this now, because we will years down the road anyway, or we can be upset and bitter and dwell on the bad, either way our car is still gone, and to tell you the truth, I’d rather be happy.”
I used to be like the husband and just laugh at all the crazy moments life threw my way. Having a cheery disposition was really the only way I was able to get through my days. Somewhere along the way however I have begun to be more like the wife and dwell on the bad. My mind is constantly racing thinking about all the things I have to do, the things I have to fix and the things that really just stress me out. I don’t want to be that person anymore, I miss laughing till my sides hurt and I really hate stressing out. So during Relief Society today I decided that I don’t want to be that person anymore. I am not going to think of the million and one reasons to be upset but think about the million and one reasons to rejoice. No one can control weither I am happy or not, I am in charge of that. I am in charge of my life and I am the only person who can decide if I am going to let life pile bricks on me or if I am going to let it pile flowers on me. No matter who we are or what we do, crazy things still happen, we don’t have control over that, but we do have control over how we let those things effect our life. Are we going to laugh at life’s crazy moments or are we going to get bogged down in all the what ifs? why me’s? what now’s? and let our minds race on all the things we have to do to fix whatever wrong has been done?
I am reminded of a talk from last conference about laughing at all lifes moments. It was a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin “Come what may, and love it.” Whenever we get lost or traffic is driving me insane I think about a story he told about his family getting lost and about how many hours it took out of a family trip. I remember him talking about laughing about it, therefor creating a cherished memory for him. He said something that has really stuck with me and something I hope to be able to truly apply in my life, “The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.”
This time of year makes me think about all the good that is still in this world. The news, the media, magazines, books, TV shows and movies don’t tell you about the great things that are happening all around, they dwell on the bad. I have found that there is usually really good things happening right along side the really bad. During the riots at the LA temple recently the media broadcasted the protesters and the fact that there we lots of people “trapped” inside the temple unable to get out because of all the riots. What they did not broadcast (know) however was the fact that thousands of ordinances were preformed that day in the temple, hundreds of sealings, baptisms and initiatories. The people that were “trapped” inside the temple, were not overwhelmed by what was happening outside the walls of the temple. They spent those hours instead doing temple work and enjoying their many hours inside those sacred walls. The good was happening despite the bad that was going on.
All I hear about on the news lately is the crime and how bad our economy is, however something happened a few weeks ago that told me there are still good, loving people out there, full of hope. The youth from my ward went around to members of our ward’s homes collecting food for families in need this holiday season. It was a scavenger hunt and each team was awarded points for certain foods. In the end the points would be add and prizes given. They were short a driver so my husband and his group went to the neighborhood across the street from the chapel. They went door to door, to non members homes, telling them what they were doing and taking donations. Their team came in 3rd out of 7. These nonmember people that had no idea who our youth were or who their food would be going to donated so much food that this team beat out 4 other teams who went to members homes. That pure love made my heart swell.
There truly is beauty and joy to be found all around. There are great moments to be had everyday. It does not have to be earth shattering. It does not have to be monumental to the world, but it can still be monumental you. Now is the time to find joy, to rejoice in the many blessing we receive each day, whether it be a ray of light flickering through the clouds, or the smell of fresh cut grass. The world makes the evil so prevalent in our lives that it is up to us to make the good even more prevalent. Now is the time to laugh at life’s crazy, unexpected moments. We are here to have joy and I know that I am ready to be that person again. I am ready to just laugh, no strings attached, and not worry about whats to come but just enjoy what is, no matter what! To have faith that our Father in Heaven knows what is going on in our lives and to truly turn them over to him.
I am reminded of the scripture Helaman 13: 29 “O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?” I know that talks about chosing wickedness over goodness but I think it also talks about how we chose to see life. Do we see all the wicked all around and blame the Lord? Do we let these things consume our lives? Do we get bogged down in the wicked and foolish things that are happening all around us? We dont have to be out there doing wicked to let it consume our lives. If we are focusing on the bad then we are letting it consume us. Are we chosing to see the darkness all around or are we truly seeing the light? No matter how good we are if we are letting the darkness that is all around us be all that we see then we are not letting the light of Christ and his goodness be the main focus in our lives. The choice is yours, relish in the light or wallow in the darkness?
Everyday Landon breaks out in obnoxious laughter over nothing. He falls off of chairs, hits his head, breaks a toy, drops his food, and just laughs. When I watch him I think about being as little children. Mosiah 3:19 “…..become as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” The world is not coming down on Landon. The things that happen to him do not destroy him, he does not see the world as hopeless. He laughs away his pain, he enjoys what he does have and loves fully. If I yell up the stairs at Noah, Landon tells me “Dont yelb, be nice!” So simple! So pure! I think that we are all to be like that. To laugh at whatever life throws us, to get on our knees when it feels like the world can’t push us down any more and when we arise, arise with the strength of angels and with the laughter and love of a child.