Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Spirit of Optimism

Since hearing that my niece Janet had taken her life, I have been sick hearted.  I went from sad to mad and back many times.  My family is very close with one another and all I could think was, how could this be true?  How is my oldest sister her mother, doing?  How are my nieces and nephews doing? Her children. How is the rest of my family doing? We are so far away here and I can do nothing. 
Life’s challenges and changes provide opportunities for us to grow as we exercise our agency in making righteous decisions. This has been a huge storm in my life and I still can't believe it. Janet was a good person and I have been told that she had been struggling for a long time. I guess I was mad because I wish she would have waited for me to come home so we could talk. It had been only a few weeks earlier she had sent a message to me.  I had no clue then cause she seemed fine.  It would be nice if we could anticipate all the changes that occur in a lifetime. Some changes we see coming, others we do not.  What about the changes which are thrust upon us rather unexpectedly? Like a raging storm.  These are changes over which we seemingly have no control. So how can we then best prepare for the changes we must inevitably face so we progress through life?
Well I guess I teach so I can learn and the words to the popular Primary song “Follow the Prophet” reminds us of this important principle: “We can get direction all along our way, if we heed the prophets—follow what they say” We too need to “get on with our lives.” Most of us do not seek or even welcome dramatic changes. But change is an essential part of life’s experiences.  We will never know what my poor niece was going through but we can pray for her continually and prepare ourselves for the storms of life by heeding what the prophets teach us.The Lord has said: “Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made” (D&C 25:13). I choose to cultivate an attitude of happiness. To cultivate a spirit of optimism. To walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those I love.
By listening to the prophets, keeping an eternal perspective, having faith, and being of good cheer, we can face life’s unexpected challenges. I will be forever thankful for my memories of good times we've shared.  Even the bad times because they are memories and lessons learned.
After a long week, feeling like I have been in a dark and troubled storm.  I am reminded that the Lord said to those He loved: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).These great words of confidence can be a beacon to each of us. In Him we may indeed have trust. For He and His promises will never fail and just like our earthly home we will return again to live with him.

We feel so blessed to be part of a work that is really going somewhere, a work that will succeed, a work that really matters! Of Him whose work this is and of the reality of His marvelous Atonement.
“'Mormonism' has made me all I am; and the grace, the power, and the wisdom of God will make me all that I ever will be, either in time or in eternity.”

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