My father passed away peacefully a few months ago, just eighteen days short of his hundredth birthday. Even as his physical capacities gradually diminished during the last few years, he continued to live by himself, fixing his own meals and using his own recipe to bake his super-nutritious bread. Both he and my mother, who died seven years previously, impressed all who knew them with their positive, cheerful outlook on life, even in the midst of their challenges.
I have sometimes wondered if my own basically cheerful nature was inherited, or a more a result of seeing and following my parents’ example. Both genetics and observation no doubt come into play, but I recently found evidence that they were actively trying to teach me the value of being cheerful when I was very young.
In going through boxes of my parents’ papers, I came across a note my father had written to me when I was not yet four years old. He wrote it on a small piece of note-paper, folded it in half, addressed it to me personally, and enclosed it with a letter mailed to my mother when we were both away from home visiting her side of the family in another state. It reads in part:
“I hope you enjoyed your very long ride and that you were a very happy and obedient girl all of the time. It is so very easy to be cheerful some of the time that a little bit of cheerfulness is hardly worth a thimbleful of sand, but it is so very, very difficult to be cheerful all of the time that if you can accomplish it the value to you will be greater than a hundred tea sets or forty-seven [dolls] or thirty-nine doll houses with real wooden chairs and tables and pianos that make music. So try very hard, won’t you?”
As I read that note, I thought of the Savior’s admonitions to “be of good cheer,” which are usually accompanied by very good reasons why such cheer is possible even when we may think we have good reason to be sorrowful.
When bowed down with remorse for our sins, we can remember that Jesus said to the man sick of the palsy, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee” (Matt. 9:2).
When we feel forsaken, we can be heartened by the Savior’s words in D&C 68:6: “Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you. . . .”
When we are discouraged by our weaknesses and failures, we can ponder D&C 78:18: “And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.”
No matter what disappointments, frustrations, or even tragedies we face during our mortal probation, because of Christ’s Atonement, we know that if we continue to have faith in Him, and do our best to live righteously, we can eventually join Him, and our Heavenly Parents, in realms of glory. “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17).
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
What comfort these principles give me!
-Rosalie, in the US
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