High Prairie Branch,
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Lately, I have been contemplating happiness and what it is that brings true joy to one’s life.
As I recall times in my life when I have been the happiest, I have realized it is often when I am caring for or meeting the needs of others.
Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.
I am reminded of story of Gordon B. Hinckley, who was serving as a missionary in England. He chose to leave his home and family during the
Depression, which had created a large financial burden on his father and brother, who were supporting him while he was away. He was not having much success, was homesick, physically worn out. He was unsure if he was better off at home helping his family.
Feeling that he was wasting his time and his family’s money, he wrote a letter to his father explaining his unhappy situation. His father replied with advice that his son would follow throughout his life.
“Dear Gordon,” he wrote, “I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion. Forget yourself and go to work.”
He was reminded of scripture: “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” [Mark 8:35]
With his father’s letter in his hand, the young Gordon B. Hinckley got on his knees and made a pledge that he would give himself to the Lord.
The effect was almost immediate.
“The whole world changed,” he said. “The fog lifted.”
I know that looking inward brings misery, looking outward brings happiness.
As we forget ourselves and serve others this summer I know that we will find our own joy will increase.