I’ve learned something this past week. Or rather, maybe had something reinforced to me: I deserve to be happy.
And not just me, but all of us.
A good friend of mine (Laurel), has emailed me that idea constantly this past summer, and just yesterday, I read a book by another friend, and that line was in it. I struck me very hard that time.
That line showed up in the book as part of a conversation with a bishop, and the bishop said to this person that happiness is not only a there thing; it’s a here thing. I forget that sometimes.
Lehi taught us that “men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) As I’ve pondered these wise words from two good friends, I’ve wondered what does happiness–true happiness–look like.
Over this last summer as I’ve gone through the hardships of life, I realized that a lot of things I wanted were just that: things that I wanted. Instead of seeking for the things that the Lord wanted for me, I was far more focused on the things that I thought would make me happy. Restoration, my way, winning… None of it has brought me lasting happiness or peace.
Last night I had an interesting experience: As I finished day three of a series of truly difficult days, I sat back and wondered what i was doing wrong. After all, aren’t we promised that we’ll be sustained and lifted? Aren’t we promised that the Master who calmed the seas could calm us as well? Where was this peace that was so often spoken of in the scriptures? And then the rebuke–To gain that peace and that happiness means that we need to do what He has asked.
So yes, I do deserve to be happy. This life is a joyous occasion full of a great many good things. While life may be very hard (and it certainly has been), it does not have to be unhappy. The Lord has provided a way for our escape (1 Nephi 3:7). He has provided a means for our salvation (2 Nephi 2: 6-7). And He has provided a way to be… happy.
The storms in my life have not yet ceased nor, frankly, do I think they will any time soon, but I still find a lot of power in seeing the Savior walk on the raging sea. He was, in that moment of terrible need, no more alone than I am. No more unsupported. No more watched over. So why then should I not be happy and peaceful?
I have no idea what the future holds for me, but surely there are answers to the right questions, peace in the right actions, and happiness in obedience.