The object of the Plan of Salvation, also called the “Plan of Happiness,” is eternal joy. The Lord said, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). In 3 Nephi 28:10 it says, “And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one.” But the Lord intended that we should find joy also during our mortal existence and not just when we reach the heavenly realm.
The following is a reflection upon finding joy in our journey through life, written by Chris, who is in the U.S. Army.
Finding Joy in the Journey
I recently enjoyed a journey to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where the ancient ruins and old customs of the land were all new to me; enjoyment in this journey came easily, and everything was a new adventure.
Then I returned to home; I was back to reality, and finding joy in this journey did not come so easily: “If only I were finished with school, then I could be happy again.”
For some, enduring daily difficulties may come naturally, but for all of us, the process of learning to enjoy everyday life, regardless of the challenges we face, requires divine help. Consider the Lord’s counsel to the Saints on their journey westward: “If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful” (D&C 136:29).
In his talk entitled “In Search of Treasure,” Pres. Thomas S. Monson offered three pieces of a treasure map, which will lead us to “joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter.” They are: 1) Learn from the past; 2) Prepare for the future; and 3) Live in the present. The Savior, seeing all things past, present, and future, guided us as to what we should ultimately focus on: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:34).” In Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill warns: “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.” And, in the end, today is all that really matters.
President Henry B. Eyring recently said, “There is a danger in the word someday when what it means is “not this day.” “Someday I will repent.” “Someday I will forgive him.” “Someday I will speak to my friend about the Church.” “Someday I will start to pay tithing.” “Someday I will return to the temple.” “Someday …” Satan would have us procrastinate urgent moments of service until someday and rush fleeting moments of pleasure today that he might destroy our joy or happiness in this life and in the life to come: “Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us” (2 Nephi 28:7). Heavenly Father designed for us a plan of happiness—not happiness for tomorrow or someday—but happiness for this day—“men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).
President Monson shared a story of a man reminiscing about his wife who had recently passed away. “[He] opened her dresser drawer and found there an item of clothing she had purchased … nine years earlier. She had not worn it but was saving it for a special occasion. Now, of course, that occasion would never come. “In relating the experience to a friend, the husband said, ‘Don’t save something only for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion.’”
When we are faced with difficulty in school, at work, or at home, sometimes it is easy to look to the future in hopes to then find happiness and joy. As we continue the journey of life, may we rejoice in the present, always remembering how today is a very special occasion.