“Brightening Our Vision,” Ensign, June 1996, 30
As I was driving home, the nearby mountains shone in a glorious mixture of pink, red, gold, and green foliage more beautiful than I could remember. I couldn’t resist the detour to Mueller Park, my favorite autumn retreat. At the brow of the hill I slowed and actually gasped aloud. The scene is still vivid in my mind: Cupped in a huge bowl rests a solid mixture of reds and golds contrasted with deep-green spikes on higher points and north slopes. Homes nestle comfortably amid the brilliant leaves. In the morning sun, the scene rivals New England’s fall grandeur.
I continue the drive down into the ravine and on up the small canyon. Maples close to the road are dressed in the deepest scarlet shades I’ve ever seen. Golds splash against dark tree trunks, forming a tunnel of color. I am moved by the beauty of it and feel deep gratitude to the Lord for the beauty of his earth. I am reminded of the scripture that tells us that “all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart” (D&C 59:18).
That night when my husband returned from work, dinner was not on the table.
“We can’t have dinner until we’ve driven up to Mueller Park,” I announce. “The sun should be just right.”
The time is right. Five o’clock sun reflecting on such majesty only enhances the canyon. I express superlatives all the way.
“Have you ever seen anything like it?” I ask.
“Honey, you say this every year,” my husband patiently points out.
“But it’s even better this year,” I insist.
“You’ve said that about everything this year,” he observes. “The flowers, trees, the sky.”
That’s true, I reflect silently. There’s never been a summer like this. In our driveway, I remove my darker glasses and put on my untinted regular pair. The surrounding color isn’t quite as bright, so I put my darker glasses back on. Everything intensifies. I realize that my old prescription bifocals, which I recently had tinted, are different. They aren’t “dark” glasses; they have a rosy tint. That is why the world is more interesting than before! That heightened color has made me consciously aware of my surroundings.
Too bad I can’t wear them inside, too, I muse. That’s the secret! An inner pair of rose-colored glasses, inside my mind, which remind me of my blessings and conveniences. With that thought in my mind, I am more aware of the conveniences I enjoy as I prepare dinner: a clean electric range, running hot and cold water, temperature changes at the touch of a finger. The list could go on and on.
There’s been a change in my disposition since I acquired those internal tinted lenses. Even a star-studded night sky is filled with more wonder—and I’m not even wearing my glasses. I’ve thought a lot about the importance of being grateful and appreciating what life offers us. I’ve noticed scriptures that talk about joy and happiness. One of my favorites is Proverbs 17:22 [Prov. 17:22]: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” I’m convinced that there is a tie between having a merry heart and developing faith and hope.
Happy people who have discovered their inner rose-tinted lenses reach out to serve others willingly. Often they enjoy good health. Their lives reflect the hope they have in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the desire they have to share that hope with others.
This lesson was driven home in my own life many years ago. I was a young Relief Society president struggling with three small children and feeling inadequate at everything I tried to do. I was hanging onto a frayed rope. Then the rope broke—three sick children, a sick husband, and I began to feel ill.
One day I was complaining to a dear friend on the phone. “What’s happened to you?” she said. “You’ve become so negative; you look on the dark side of everything.”
I hung up the phone and wept bitterly, resentfully. How could my friend say those things? I asked myself. Who needs a friend like that?
I did. I’ve been grateful for her ever since because she had the courage to tell me the truth.
But in addition to pointing out my slide into negativity, my friend also offered a solution. She invited me to attend some scripture classes organized and presented by her stake. For some time I had been too harried to study the scriptures, but through those classes my spiritual eyes reopened. My vision brightened. My broken spirit healed and, over a prolonged span of time, my once merry heart returned.
On every hand one sees friends, neighbors, and others whose attitudes “drieth the bones.” Their lack of optimism works against their own spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. They are often so concerned about their own problems that they ignore the needs of other people, focusing instead on the unfairness of life and the lack of control they have over their own situation.
We must remember our Savior’s promise that “whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; … but whosoever shall be willing to lose his life for my sake, and the gospel, the same shall save it” (JST, Mark 8:37–38).
Even rose-colored glasses need cleaning once in a while, especially when trials weigh us down. We cannot always be perfectly happy and grateful for everything, but the eternal goals we are aiming for can only be seen as we look up toward our Savior.
Doctrine and Covenants 78:18–19 [D&C 78:18–19] encapsulates that concept: “Ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.
“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.”