I heard a quote a week ago that has been on my mind ever since. It was attributed to President Thomas S. Monson
“The key to happiness is to do your duty.”
I wondered, do I believe that?
I thought of how often I see advertisements that seem to suggest that happiness is based on freedom from duties or tasks; freedom from responsibilities and commitments. Happiness, we are told, is found in entertainment, amusements and distractions.
But I have found that the truth is that we each have duties to attend to. As a member of society, as a member of a family, and as human beings we have duties that help our society and families function well. When we complete those duties, we can feel a natural sense of accomplishment and confidence.
There are times that my list of duties seems too daunting, and my happiness wanes. At those times I feel a need to set those responsibilities aside, and take a break. I have found it helps me to rest; to pray to know what I truly need to do at that time, and to engage in something that brings me joy – something that releases the pent-up energy of focused work, and something that gets me moving and renews me physically and emotionally – something fun! “Men are that they might have joy,”* after all!
Then, with my perspective lifted and my energy revived, I have learned that I can attend to the task at hand with a more positive attitude, ready to receive the inspiration I may need to complete it.
I do feel a wave of happiness and contentment when I can lie down at night, think over the day, and know that I ‘did my duty.’ Yes, there are hundreds of things I didn’t get done – but as I continue learning to discern what few duties are truly vital each day, I can feel peaceful about the fact that I focused on those few things, and did what I could. That’s all I need to do.
The adversary will always tell us there’s too much to do; that our duties are too much to bear; that we will never get it all done; and that we will never be enough.
But he’s a liar, and the truth is, with God, we can accomplish all that is needful, one day at a time.
It’s like laundry and cleaning house – those things are never really ‘done’.
But I get to determine what amount I will assign to each day, and when that’s done, I’m done.
And that brings me a lot of peace – and happiness!