(Part 3, originally posted on July 6, 2009)
I know that many of you have been waiting for this post, and it has finally arrived. Life has been crazy for the last week, with work, school, meeting parents, and lots of other exciting events which have made life happy in general. I wanted to start out with talking about the 4th of July and freedom in general, especially in relation to happiness. The original treatise from which life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were taken replaced happiness with property, but the founding fathers made this interesting change to that list. I think in some ways they were creating a country that understood what the Plan of Salvation was about and what types of things could make a person happy for a long time. They recognized the importance of not just being able to obtain possessions, but to have the right to be happy, and be able to pursuit that right. Each person will have a different opinion about what will make them happy, but true happiness comes from partaking of the love of God, and sharing that love with others. I think it is also important to find little ways to live a good life and appreciate the blessings and opportunities we are given to make us happy.
I did want to create a list of items that make me immensely happy, kind of like a gratitude journal, to show how blessed I am and explain how some of the simple are those that can be most important. So my list includes: hanging out with my family; reading; doing the dishes; creating something (including smiles, books, clothing, jewelry, a happy home, a more beautiful space, and many others); having someone tell you that they love you; feeling like you look amazing (if just for one day); having loving friends that you can share secrets and stories with; knowing that no matter what happens God will always love me and will support and guide me; having fun dishes to set my table with; traveling to foreign countries; the smell of rain, new books, trees, coffee, and others; cleaning a room and just sitting in the cleanness; playing in a creek, the ocean or other water; listening to uplifting music (although some of this might seem strange to other people); learning about history and political philosophy; eating food (especially good food that I love, like ice cream, cheese, potatoes, chips and lots of other things); decorating for holidays; acting crazy and having how reservations about what others think; trees (especially really big ones that are great for climbing and having swings); a warm bed at night that is soft; a steady job so I don’t have to worry about money all the time; playing with little children and babies; acting like a little kid and playing games; superheroes; and much, much more.
Now that I have made a rather long, although not comprehensive list, I want to encourage everyone who is reading this to think about the things that make them happy and to pursuit those things. Jacob, Nephi’s brother, explained that men are that they might have joy, so why are we waiting? None of us are getting younger, and opportunities will continue to pass us by if we don’t do something now. Pick something, whether it is to make something new, like a piece of artwork or a new friend, or to find food you love and experience those, or anything else that can be a passion and become engrossed in that. All three items I have discussed are closely related. We are given the right to life by our Father in Heaven, and we then receive liberty to make what choices we want. One of the choices we can make is to choice and pursuit happiness, which according to the gospel will lead to a fuller life and more liberties. I encourage us all to decide how to look at home important our founding fathers were, and the active role that the Lord took in the creation of the United States, and ways in which we can use our lives, liberties and rights to create a place where everyone has the opportunity to pursuit happiness, and have all of the blessings that are available for those who live the commandments. We can all be happy, we just need to make the choice.