My dad used to tell us to learn from the mistakes of others. He warned us that we would make enough mistakes on our own without repeating the mistakes of others. I think I can take that one step further. What if we learned good character traits of others so that we can model our own good behavior after those of others? Over the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned from my heritage—not just my own family, but the generations of the past.
I’ll admit to being a little down in the dumps lately. I’ve been scolding myself because I have absolutely no reason to be melancholy. My life is incredibly blessed. As I thought about past generations, one thing that stood out to me is the indomitable spirit of optimism of our predecessors. For instance, I’m convinced that World War II would have ended much differently had the allied soldiers and those back home had a defeatist attitude.
We were totally unprepared for the upheaval and horrors of that awful period in history. Yet, through sheer willpower and a “can do” attitude, we prevailed. The British held on during the blitz because of miraculous optimism. The people of the Philippines survived outrageous conditions through sheer determination after a terrible tsunami. And the survivors of the Holocaust—there are no words to describe what they endured.
Let’s move to the American pioneers. Whether seeking a better life in the Pacific Northwest, the wealth of the California gold mines or the Nevada Comstock Lode, or freedom from religious persecution in Utah (which then spread all through the west, southwest, and northwest), the common denominator is a cheerful heart, a “can do” attitude, determination, and a spirit of optimism.
My recent personal scolding has given me an attitude adjustment. I have renewed determination to follow the counsel of our leaders to have a joyful heart. Yes, these are the last days. Things are really hard, and they are going to get worse. It might feel sometimes like we should be begging for mercy, but the reality is that we live in the absolute best of times. We have the fullness of the gospel on the earth.
The priesthood has been restored. We again have living prophets and apostles to guide us. We have personal revelation—a direct communication line with God. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost to be with us always to comfort, guide, and direct. We have our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has atoned for our sins. He is our mediator with our Father. What on earth do we have to be melancholy about?
Satan tells us that all is wrong in the world. He would have us believe that we are doomed. He takes the political climate all over the world, shoves it in our faces, and says, “Look here! You have no hope!” The thing is that we know how it ends. Satan will lose in the end. He doesn’t have a chance. We will be okay. We have every reason to be joyful! We have every reason to rejoice! We must listen to the right voices; not to Satan and his followers.
I like to think of it as Satan’s “unhappiness trap” and Satan’s “fear jail”. He wants to confine us to a life of misery because that’s what he faces—misery. We don’t have to be trapped in unhappiness, and we don’t have to be confined to fear. All we need to escape is to have faith in Heavenly Father’s plan.
We are, therefore, not ignorant of the challenges of the world, nor are we unaware of the difficulties of our times. But this does not mean that we should burden ourselves or others with constant fear.
Rather than dwelling on the immensity of our challenges, would it not be better to focus on the infinite greatness, goodness, and absolute power of our God, trusting Him and preparing with a joyful heart for the return of Jesus the Christ?
In the face of fear, let us find our courage, muster our faith, and have confidence in the promise that “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear,” Apr. 2017 General Conference, quoting Isaiah 54:17.)
We must learn from our heritage. We have a heritage of faith. Those who came before us understood that no matter what trials come to us, what laws govern, who holds political office, what challenges face our nation and our world, in the end everything will be okay. Christ will come again. He will reign upon the earth. There will be peace on earth. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. Yes, we have reason to rejoice. We can have joyful hearts and live our lives without fear. Be cheerful!
In our homes, in our places of business, in our Church callings, in our hearts, let us replace fear with Christ’s perfect love. Christ’s love will replace fear with faith! (President Uchtdorf, Ibid.)
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.