Finding Joy in Life

Karen Rockwood, Idaho, USA

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    On one occasion I was reading a general conference talk by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Though I had heard and read this talk before, one phrase caught my attention and stayed in my thoughts.

    A few hours later my son, who was living in an apartment with his friends, came by for a visit. He had served a full-time mission and had attended a few semesters of college. He was unsure what educational direction he should go and which career path he should pursue. Because he had been frustrated and felt that school, for now, was a waste of time and money, he put his studies on hold and began working full time.

    He told me that one of his friends had suggested they go to an island in the Bahamas or the Caribbean, get jobs, and have fun for a few months. My son was excited about the prospect. I could easily see how enticing such a carefree experience could be to a young man.

    Just then, Elder Scott’s impressive message came to my mind. I picked up the Ensign and read the following to my son: “You are here on earth for a divine purpose. It is not to be endlessly entertained or to be constantly in full pursuit of pleasure. You are here to be tried, to prove yourself so that you can receive the additional blessings God has for you. The tempering effect of patience is required” (“Finding Joy in Life,” Ensign, May 1996, 25).

    Without a word, my son took the magazine, walked away, and read the whole talk. Later all he said was that he would not be embarking on his island adventure.

    In time he entered the police academy, a path that led him to meet his future wife. They married in the Mesa Arizona Temple and today are raising three wonderful children. In 2010 my son finished his bachelor’s degree and is truly “finding joy in life.”

    My son’s proposed adventure might have been a fine experience; on the other hand, it might have been spiritually dangerous. Each time I reflect on this experience, the Spirit touches my heart.

    I am thankful for the words of the prophets and that I was prompted to recall a talk that helped me provide guidance. I am also thankful that my son listened to a messenger of the Lord and allowed the Spirit to influence him. I know that many blessings and tender mercies come when we listen to and follow the teachings of the Savior and His servants.