Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy For Their Happiness

I was talking to a good friend today about his new girlfriend, who is 8 years younger than he is. One of his other friends (a woman nearly 30) has been giving him a hard time about it, essentially saying that it isn't right that a 20-year-old woman should be in a happy relationship (with potential for marriage) when she, a woman with 10 years more life experience, isn't.

I was appalled and it took me a few minutes to formulate a response: Would this woman really, truly want to deprive someone else of a blessing just because the Lord's timing doesn't suit her plans? Would she want to prevent someone else from being happy just because she isn't? Would she want Heavenly Father to hit the "pause" button on this younger woman's life just so she could be selfish? Because that's what it is--selfish. I see how happy my friends with children are, and I would never want to take that from them just because I'm childless. I see how much calm joy my engaged friends have, and I would not want to deprive them of that overwhelming inner peace just because my engagement didn't lead to marriage. If, deep down in my heart, I wanted to take all that away just so I wasn't the only one who was lonely, I would be a very selfish person, and I wouldn't deserve any blessings God wants to give me. I wouldn't even be worthy of the blessings I already had.

I wonder....if you're not happy and grateful for someone else's happiness, how in the world can you think that the Lord would think you'd be happy if he gave you more? Does that make sense? If you can't express gratitude for the way things are, what makes you think you can do it when things finally go "your way"?

I was reminded of the parables, specifically the parable of the talents. A lord (The Lord, you know) had three servants and gave each of them a certain amount of talents and then left on a journey. The servant who was given five earned five more; the servant who was given two earned two more; the servant who was given one hid his in the earth because, as we later discover, he was afraid. He wasn't grateful enough to try to improve what he had been given so he buried it, and it was taken from him and given to the first servant. The last servant, the "wicked and slothful" one, was left with nothing, while the first two were called "good and faithful" and told "thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy [L]ord". Now, isn't that a much better thing to hear? I think so.

I get so tired of the women who can't find any happiness in their hearts for others. I'm sure if they sat down and thought about it, they'd see how blessed they are. Just because ONE BLESSING hasn't been bestowed yet, they think they aren't worth anything, or that their lives mean nothing, or that the other blessings somehow don't count. I've learned to accept my life for what it is and to recognize God's hand in it. Every day I'm reminded that He does love me, He wants me to be happy, and He wants to bless me with everything He has! He just has a different schedule than I do, and I think part of deciding to have a happy life is to make peace with that. We need to remember that WE are not Creators, WE are not Atoners, WE are NOT in charge. Yes, agency comes into play, but because of agency, we can choose to be happy or to be miserable. I simply chose to be happy with what I have instead of focusing on what I don't or being afraid to be happy with what I have. It's so much more fun to list to myself all the things that I'm happy and grateful for than to dwell on the few things I don't have yet.

People who bury that metaphorical talent by being angry or bitter about their lives may not deserve that most precious gift of all: Life. Think about it. Look at your body and how it works. Move your thumbs around. Breathe in the air. Listen to your heartbeat. Think how amazing it is that you can do so many things with this body! Look at the world around you! Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ made this world for you. They created the world, and then they created man and woman. They created a place for their ultimate work: you. What a profound realization! All of this is here so we can be happy and learn that the joy comes from the journey, not the end of it. Single or married, parents or not, we all have life. We all have this journey. The mileposts come at different times for all of us, and if someone reaches the blessing of marriage to a worthy spouse who will love and cherish them forever before us, we should be happy for them! I know I am. It makes me so happy to see my young friends finding their husbands and experiencing that joy that it sometimes makes me cry to think about it. Yes, I'm a little jealous and I feel a little left out sometimes, but if I pay attention and am prayerful and faithful, I get little flashes of insight and clarity that remind me that I have so much to be grateful for, and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are mindful of me, that they love me more than I can comprehend. And, when the time is right, I will be blessed with more happiness than I can imagine, as long as I am grateful for my current happiness and blessings!

Really, isn't that what we learn from the parable of the talents? Make the best and most of what you have, and be happy for others who have different blessings? Be grateful for what you've been blessed with, and that will prove to Heavenly Father that you can be "faithful over a few things" and that you are worthy of being a "ruler over many things" and "entering into the joy of the Lord."

I don't want to risk losing that.

It's more fun to be happy for other people--who wants to date someone who is bitter and angry all the time? Not me!


TRS said...

You make a wonderful and beautiful point.
But I have been in the position of the woman you speak off - and yeah - it's easy to be snide and envious of someone you don't really know. Taking on a sort of "wait your turn" attitude. Sure it's wrong, but sometimes you just feel what you feel.

Like a career... if someone gets the position you've been working for for the past ten years, after only graduating from college. Not fair. Why doesn't she have to work for it? She should wait her turn.

But speaking of not being happy for others... well - that works both ways too.
My single friends are always happy for and supportive of our friends who get engaged, get married and have babies.... every last one of them.
But guess what... once they are married - they forget all about being supportive of their single friends.
Our problems - the same ones they had not so long ago... now just dismissed by the wave of a hand - and they tell us how unimportant our concerns are.

so being a happy and supportive friend works both ways.