All my life I have had the privilege of coming to a happy home at the end of the day. I never realized what a tremendous blessing this was and regularly took it for granted.
I don’t take it for granted anymore.
When I packed up my things and left work this evening, I was anxious to see my lovely wife and delightful daughter. She is our baby; the last of six children. They both are my happiness and joy.
Long ago when I was young, I looked forward to returning home. I knew there I would find love, acceptance, and peace. Sitting around the dinner table with my brothers and sisters and parents has taken many forms throughout my life, but each instance is a treasured memory now.
You may or may not share these good memories with me. I hope you do. What makes these occasions possible? How can they be assured?
I don’t know all the answers, but I know that following the simple principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ makes these occasions more likely they will regularly occur. Being obedient to the commandments and holding fast to the ones we love ensure that the happiness of our lives will more likely transpire the way we hope and more fun when it does.
It is not rocket science. Joseph Smith has said “Happiness is the object and design of our existence and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”
The commandments, rules, guidelines, barriers—whatever you want to call them—in the gospel of Jesus Christ are intended to bring us everlasting happiness. That is why we have them. Instead of looking at the commandments like obstacles, hurdles, or obstructions to the fun in our lives, we should recognize that they are the very reason we can achieve lasting joy in this world and everlasting happiness in the world to come. But if it’s that simple, why do so many people struggle to find true happiness in our day?
Well it isn’t necessary that we have all the answers, but I do know that we need to show faith. If we follow the blueprint that leads to the destination where we want go and rely on our Father for direction. He can make us the kind of people we want to become, and then the odds are much better we’ll achieve our ultimate goal. I have an analogy that seems appropriate in this case. It might be old-fashioned and sound archaic, but it is spot on.
There are a lot of ways to get from one place to another. Some excursions are short trips and others are long journeys that take considerable time and preparation. But one element they all have in common is that there are easier pathways to our destination and some roads are much more difficult. Certain highways won’t ever lead to where we want to go. Following a good map can make the journey a lot easier.
Now if you’re thinking a GPS is the only way to go nowadays, that’s fine. The principle still applies. Listen to Siri or understand the key to follow the right directions on a good reliable map and you will get to your desired destination. Take the wrong roads, try shortcuts, and attempt to thwart the pathway outlined for you, and you will get to your journey’s end, but it may not be the destination you want or expect.
When we are taking a test, the outcome is NOT determined by the amount of studying we do. It matters whether our cramming helps us come up with the correct answers. That is what ensures a great score. And for those occasions when we have a pop quiz or didn’t get around to studying at all, of course an answer sheet comes in really handy, right? And so it is in life.
If we pursue the path that leads to happiness, we are most likely going to achieve that result. The nice thing to know upfront as we execute the test of life is that we actually do have an answer sheet. Yes, I said we have the key. It comes in the form of commandments, which lead us to the outcome that we truly desire.
Now if you’re saying under your breath ”Sure. If it was that easy, we would all be happy,” then you’re the one I am writing this article for. Knowing what brings happiness is important. Doing what brings happiness is even more vital. If you are unconvinced, then take my word for it. I don’t just believe this to be true, I am certain of it. I have been practicing this principle my whole life, and I am not perfect—far from it. Perfection is not a requirement for happiness, but effort, love and patience are.
Early in my life I decided to put these words to the test. I haven’t always been spot on, but when I am true to the principles that breed peace, harmony, and benevolent actions, I have consistently reached my intended destination, and I revel in it every day.
Perspective has changed my opinion of the barrier. All my life I have had the privilege of coming home at the end of the day to a happy home. I realize now what a tremendous blessing this is and Source that consistently helps make it happen.
Don’t be too critical of the barriers. They are intended for our joy in this life just as much as they are intended for our joy and exaltation in the next. They mark the sure way.
I don’t take that for granted anymore.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.