"If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we both still have one apple. If you have an idea, and I have an idea and we exchange ideas then we both have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where is Happiness

This is a story I heard in church a week ago.  I'm sure there are many variations of the story but the message is the same.

       "When man was created there were some elves who wanted to cause some mischief for mankind and decided to hide something very special from him-his happiness.  They talked for some time about where to hide it so as to be very difficult for man to find.
A suggestion was made to hide it on the highest mountain peak, but as man was adventurous eventually one would climb and find happiness and share it with all.
A second elf suggested to hide it in the deepest part of the ocean, but another elf said that mankind was too clever and would eventually build a contraption to dive to the deepest depths and find it.
A third elf proposed to hide it on the moon, but it was decided that man was brave and always exploring new territory and would eventually find his way to the moon.
Finally a wise old elf came up with the perfect solution.  They would hide happiness inside man himself.  In all his searching in the universe man would surely never think to look inside himself to find happiness."

All too often we forget that happiness is to be found in us not in stuff.  It's best found with other people, especially when we are working to make them happy instead of worrying about ourselves.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Repentance and Moving Onward

After going through some tough times and making a few mistakes in my life I found myself wanting to go back to the way things were.  I was continually frustrated because, although I didn't see it initially, you simply can't go back to how things used to be.  As Frodo says near the end of The Lord of The Rings "How do pick up the threads of an old life?  How do you go on?  But in your heart you begin to realize that there is no going back."  The only way we move is forward; that doesn't mean its always in a good direction or the way we want to go, just that we only go forward, never back.

Finally I realized one day that repentance and the atonement of Jesus Christ doesn't change the past.  The Lord tells us that when we repent we are forgiven and he doesn't remember our sins anymore (Doctrine and Covenants 58:42).  In his wisdom he allows us to remember our sins; He wants us to continue to learn from them and to not repeat them so he doesn't take away the memory of them, only the pain and guilt.  As the prophet Alma the younger said of his conversion "I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more." (The Book of Mormon, Alma 36:19)  Clearly he remembered the things he had done but wasn't weighed down with guilt and pain anymore.  The atonement allows us to move forward in spite of our mistakes.

It amazes me how much the Lord loves us.  He allows us the chance to grow and improve, and eventually to return to him, even though we make mistakes.