September has been a frightening month. With three hurricanes hitting our country; an earthquake in Mexico; and the western states on fire. Wars and rumors of war blast us from every direction. Our country is being torn apart by ideologies. How can we survive?
When I was in high school, way back in the Dark ages, There were some cute little figurines that I loved , called “Precious Moments” I think my favorite was a little girl named “God Loveth a Cheerful Giver.” I wondered at the time, while going through the angst of teenager-hood what one had to do to be cheerful?
In the September 2017 Ensign magazine, Jeffrey R. Holland quotes Joseph Smith (1805—40)
“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it.”
Aristotle, one of the greatest intellectual minds the Western world has ever known once said that “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
Elder Holland writes,”So how do we “pursue” happiness?? Well, we know one thing for sure: happiness is not easy to find running straight for it. It is usually too elusive, too ephemeral, too subtle. If you haven’t learned it already, you will learn in the years ahead that most times happiness comes to us when we least expect it, when we are busy doing something else. Happiness is almost always a by-product of some other endeavor.”
Living “after the Manner of Happiness”Elder Holland continues, “The first 30 years of Book of Mormon history do not present a pleasant story. The hostility within the family of Lehi and Sariah became so intense that the two halves of their family split asunder, with one group fleeing yet farther into the wilderness, fearing for their lives lest they fall victim to the bloodthirsty quest of the other. As the first group plunged into unsettled terrain to seek safety and fashion a life for themselves as best they could, the prophet-leader of this Nephite half of the family says they “lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27).
But my reassurance to you is that in God’s plan we can do much to find the happiness we desire. We can take certain steps, we can form certain habits, we can do certain things that God and history tell us lead to happiness with the confidence that if we live in such a manner, that butterfly is much more likely to land upon our shoulder. In short, your best chance for being happy is to do the things that happy people do, live the way happy people live, and walk the path that happy people walk. As you do so, your chances to find joy in unexpected moments, to find peace in unexpected places, and to find the help of angels when you didn’t even know they knew you existed improve exponentially. Here are five ways we can live “after the manner of happiness.”
Choose Happiness I remember my brother, during a contentious time in his life said that he had decided to be happy even though his family situation was not. He chose to be happy and to live in the manner of happiness until he was truly happy. U.S. president Abraham Lincoln had plenty to be unhappy about in the most difficult administration a president of the United States has ever faced, but even he reflected that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Be Kind and Pleasant Anger damages or destroys almost everything it touches. As someone has said, to harbor anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It is a vicious acid that will destroy the container long before it does damage to the intended object
Work at It Here is one last suggestion when there are so many others we should consider. Nephi said that in an effort to find happiness in their new land after their 30 years of trouble, “I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17). By contrast, those from whom they fled became “an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety” (2 Nephi 5:24).
During Hurricane Harvey there was a woman in one shelter who one day broke into song. She started to sing Gospel music and soon many others joined in. She enjoyed the happy feeling and moved on to other shelters in Houston bringing music and happiness to others in distress. She was a cheerful giver.
Watching news reports about all the hurricanes this month, the earthquake and the fires, I saw report after report of people helping peple, people who were happy to be alive and able to help.
I like making quilts. I sent some to Texas and I made some for fire victims and hospitals over the years. We all have some talent to share and it brings happiness to both the receiver and the giver.