Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals understand that life is difficult. There are things about life that cannot be changed and must simply be accepted. Life is tough for all of us, and it knocks down all people numerous times. Successful people refuse to stay down and pull themselves up to try again and again. One important thing to remember is to stop digging a hole around ourselves when we are down.
An interesting article was posted a few months ago by this site. It discusses numerous “facts” that we must know and understand in order to keep from being pulled down by the difficulties of life. They are all fairly common in most lives and sort of fit in groups as I will discuss.
The first group is the fact that all of us will die one day, and everybody we know has died or will die at some time in the future. We have to accept death as a part of this mortal existence and not let it pull us down. All of us started on the path toward death the minute we were born. For some of us the path was a few hours, months, or years, but for most people the path goes on for decades. We need to learn how to enjoy life and make it meaningful while we have it. This includes developing strong relationships with those we love and actually being with our loved ones while we can. When our loved ones pass away, we will feel great sadness and grief according to how much we loved the departed one. However, we must understand that death is a temporary separation, and we will see our loved ones again.
The second group has to do with wealth. Since there is no amount of wealth that will bring true happiness, we should search for happiness as we travel the path of life. If we think that we will be happy when we are rich, we will never be rich enough. The first picture that comes to my mind when I think of this subject is that of Scrooge McDuck, the fictional character in Walt Disney cartoons. He is the elderly Scottish uncle of Donald Duck and is often depicted playing with his stacks of gold. He loves his gold more than he loves his nephew and great-nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Another famous Scrooge is the main character in the much loved Christmas story entitled A Christmas Carol. Through a series of dreams, Scrooge learns that money is only a tool that we use and should not be considered as a source of happiness. A scrooge is someone who is stingy with their money and definitely not something to be desired.
Another truth about money is that we will not take it with us when we die. It does not matter whether we are worth a pittance or millions of dollars, everything of monetary value will remain in the physical world when we depart to the spiritual world. We might as well use wealth to bring happiness to ourselves and others. One way to achieve happiness from wealth is to give it away. The best way to give money away is to pay tithing, meaning to pay one-tenth of all income to the Lord to help build His kingdom on earth. Once we have paid tithing, met our daily needs, and provided a few of our wants, we can see true happiness by bringing happiness to other people. My husband and I spent a few thousand dollars last summer to take our children, their spouses, and their children on a cruise. We all had a great time, and our memories are still bringing us happiness.
A third category is time. We each have only one opportunity to enjoy mortality, so we should live it to the fullest. A wise man once said that we should learn from the past and prepare for the future, but we should live in the present. We have only one life to prepare for all eternity. Time is a valuable commodity, maybe even more valuable than money. When money is in short supply, we can save some by spending time. Children do not really care whether they have the latest gadget if father and mother spend time with them having fun. Along the same lines, it is very easy to write out a check to help some cause, but often the time donated by volunteers is needed even more than money. We all should donate of our time to strengthen our families and communities.
A fourth category is oneself. We must take care of ourselves in order to be of any value to anyone else. We must accept that we have feelings and thoughts that are important to us, and we should never allow anyone to denigrate them. We must accept responsibility for our words and actions and never attempt to blame other people for what we say or do. We are doing ourselves a great disservice if we are trying to be perfect in this life. There is only one perfect person who ever lived on this earth, and He is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We can become perfect in certain areas, such being perfectly punctual to our meetings, being perfect in offering prayers to Heavenly Father every day, or being perfect in our tithes and offerings. However, it is impossible for mere mortals like you and I to be perfect in every detail and action of our lives. If we try to be perfect, we will only drive ourselves or our loved ones crazy. Instead of going crazy, we should invest in ourselves by gaining new knowledge and by developing new or God-given talents - and then sharing that knowledge or talent with others. We should exercise our bodies and minds, but we must allow ourselves time to rest and recuperate.
The last category is attitude. No one wants to be around a complainer. Everyone has difficulties and even our closest loved ones do not want to hear us complain about how hard our life is. We can mention that something is wrong, but we should do so in a positive way. In spite of our best plans and hardest work, sometimes things do not go well. The best way to respond is to be positive and to look on the bright side. What can I learn from what happened? We should understand that dreams and wishes are nice, but they do not come to pass without hard work. We should all be grateful for what we have. We may not have everything that we desire, but most of us – especially in America – have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Even if all we have is sunshine and rain, we should express gratitude for them. When we count our blessings, we start to notice how many more blessings we have.
Life is hard, and the quicker we realize this fact, the happier we will be. We can help the rising generation to learn this fact in several ways. We can stop giving trophies for participation in a sport. If we must give trophies, give them to the ones who work the hardest or play the best. The children keep scores even when adults refuse to do it, so they are never fooled. We can refuse to listen to their complaints and blame games. We can teach this fact by actually saying and then repeating the words: Life is hard! By teaching the rising generation to accept the fact that life is hard, we will bless their lives and strengthen our families, communities, and nations.