“All this is part of happiness,” Ensign, Apr. 1971, 11
There is a whimsical sentence from Kin Hubbard which says: “It’s pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an’ wealth have both failed.”1 Beginnings—endings—more beginnings—with a need always to define what we are looking for, with all of us perhaps endowed with a measure of discontent—a discontent that sometimes seems to be burden, but often proves to be a blessing. “Restlessness,” said Thomas Edison, “is discontent, and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” To be on our way toward some good goal, in peace, and with a quiet conscience—all this is part of happiness, but not the kind of contentment that is smugly satisfied, and not with the gnawing kind of worry that frets about everything that could ever happen, for much of what we worry about never does. All of us have our worries, our problems, disappointments, frustrations; our wondering how well we are using this life we live—wanting to do well with it, wondering what is worthwhile, seeing injustice, having unanswered questions, needing faith, seeing only part of the picture. But with honest repentance, improvement, and a sense of being on our way toward something better, we can balance content and discontent with patience and faith, knowing that there is an eternal plan and purpose, even though from hour to hour and day to day we see only an incomplete picture. As Francis Quarles said it:
“My soul, sit thou a patient looker-on;
Judge not the play before the play is done:
Her plot hath many changes; every day
Speaks a new scene; the last act crowns the play.”2
We have to do what we can, where we are, with what we have—and not expect all answers here and now, but wait until the play progresses. Happiness is to use life well—with faith for the future.