Hello my dear family and friends,
I first off hope that everyone is doing well and finding little ways to be happy. I have been blessed to have another great companion, Elder Rios. I described a little bit about him last week. We are similar in many ways and have already been able to develop a sense of trust and respect. We had a great conversation this morning about happiness and being happy. I want to share some thoughts on that topic.
As many of you know, I have the tendecy to work hard in everything I do. Perhaps occasionally too much, forgetting the reason and the ultimate goal. Why is it we do the things we do? With my previous companion, Elder Umaña, we were able to buckle down and work like never before. We had some great accomplishements and were able to reach out and help many people. But at times I got lost focusing so much on working, working, doing one more thing. I learned so much from this time.
Before anyone gets too worried for me, be assured I do not plan on backing off in the least. We will still be keeping a breakneck pace and doing all we can, but now, with the help of Elder Rios, I will allow myself to be happy. To be smiling, speaking always from the heart, sharing experiences from my life to inspire and uplift, and most importantly, listening with my heart and mind. Not just trying to understand, but also to internalize, to feel what it is the good people here are feeling.
But now I am getting away from the topic of happiness. As Elder Rios expressed his feelings and thoughts this morning, the conversation included more or less the following.
We are here to be happy. Not just on the mission, but in life. If we think a commandment or a morale restricts us and keeps us from being really happy, then we do not understand the why, or we do not see the big picture. What father wants his children to be unhappy?
Personally I am learning that sometimes all it takes to be happy is to have the courage to face my thoughts and feelings straight up. If I am feeling stressed or upset it is usually because I am worried about a person or a situation. If I then think clearly and directly about the situtation, identify those aspects that I can control, those I cannot, make plans for those parts I can, and pray for the rest, I can then be happy.
A goal to set for myself is to make happiness the default. I will never forget the example of my older sister Alicia. She showed and taught me the way to be happy. ¨¨Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.¨¨ In the morning at 5 20 getting ready to go to seminary each morning of high school, late at night studying for the upcoming test, across a computer moniter through skype while alone at the university. Alicia, in every moment that I needed it, was there to tell and show me what happiness can be. I still remember and think of her when I find myself in those rough spots.
Happiness the default. And when I am unhappy, do what is necessary to become happy once more. Smiling and loving and living from the inside out.
I love each of you and appreciate the support you give me. I want you to know that your prayers are an incredible blessing and I know there have been very specific instances when your prayers have protected me, guided me, and kept me from harm. Please keep me in your prayers. I would also love, as your time permits, to receive a letter about how you are doing. Perhaps a picture included of you with your family and/or friends.
I love you all, and miss you much. But this is the work of the Lord and I am priviledged to take a small part.