I’m not someone who likes to read the news. When I learn about the sadness and tragedies of others, I have a hard time not internalizing it. Having experienced my own tragedy a few years ago, it brings me a lot of sorrow to hear about the losses of others, especially when it involves the death of loved ones.
In light of several tragedies this week in the news, I have been thinking a lot about how to find peace and happiness when life can be so heart-breaking. Having dealt with a difficult loss myself, I wish I could say I have the magic answer. “Being happy” is actually a lot harder for me now than it used to be. While you can practice good habits for your emotional health, you can’t pretend that you are the same person after a loss. Your view of life and the world around you is different, and I feel like happiness and peace can sometimes be elusive.
There was a message given several years ago that I read recently that validated my feelings. It was given at an LDS General Conference by Joseph B. Wirthlin entitled “Come What May and Love It.” That was the phrase his mother told him after he lost a sports game as a boy.
“I think she may have meant that every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result.
“How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment. I don’t think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don’t think she was suggesting that we smother unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
“You may feel singled out when adversity enters your life. You shake your head and wonder, “Why me?”
“But the dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt. … The Lord in His wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness.
“Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.
“Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others.”
He later addresses how we can find happiness as we learn to laugh, seek for the eternal, believe in the law of compensation, and trust in the Father and the Son. It is a really helpful discussion that you can find here.
I am grateful for my belief that we can find peace and happiness as we turn to our Savior. Some days can be low, but my heart has been softened and I have felt peace when I have prayed for help and guidance during difficult times. While I wish that the events in my story were different, I recognize that they have shaped me, and I am grateful for the understanding and compassion I have gained.