My name is Catania (it rhymes with lasagne). I am 31 years old, and learning to come to terms with it. 😉 I have been married for 2 and a half years, and I have three girls – an 8-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 7-month old.
I am a happy person.
I’m not any happier now than I was 15 years ago. In 1994 I was in tenth grade. I had just moved from Houston to PA. My parents had been divorced for five years. We were always traveling between Texas and Pennsylvania. Finally, we made the move to the Northeast.
Although I was sad to leave my friends, one thing that made me happiest at that time was Early Morning Seminary. I’d like to say it was because of the scriptures. However, it was because of Sister Gardner. Her house was warm and inviting. I felt so much love in her home. She would joke and tease us. And even though I couldn’t really verbalize it then, I now know that the reason I loved seminary is because I felt the Spirit there. It was in Seminary that I learned that there was a relationship between Happiness and the Spirit.
I wasn’t a perfect teenager. I had some other issues going on. But I felt happy. I learned ways to incorporate the same happiness I felt in Sister Gardner’s home into my own life. Usually, it was through creative endeavors – sometimes from playing the piano; other times, I’d get lost in a book. I remember spending many nights in my room, happily listening to music, and making art. I found that being creative also brought the Spirit into my life. And it made me happy.
Essentially, I’m also not any happier now than I was ten years ago. I had been married for about a year – a difficult year. Not only had I gotten married, but I moved to Utah from another state. It was a difficult adjustment.
However, through the struggles, the Lord strengthened me. I attended Institute, went to college, worked at an airline, and served in the Young Women organization. Through gospel study, pursuing an education, expressing myself creatively, making money, and serving the Lord, the Spirit was infused in my life. Amidst change, I was happy.
Essentially, I’m not any happier now than I was five years ago. I had been divorced only five months prior. It was the shock of my life. I found myself a single, working-mom. I was tired and trying to navigate the unexpected turbulence of life. My kids were only 3 and 2. And I was alone.
But I was happy. It was strange – in a way Everything went wrong. But I was still happy.
I was happy because the Spirit was still in my life. I felt the Spirit as I attended the temple – even if it was all alone. I felt the Spirit when I picked my kids up for a hug – even if it was after a long day of work, and with the knowledge that there was another long day ahead. I felt the Spirit when I created artwork – even if it was sloppily done on my bed at an hour when I should have been sleeping. I felt the Spirit when I was running – even if it was still dark outside, and I was freezing. I felt the Spirit when I would create a good spreadsheet – even if my other colleagues swore all day, and I was kind of wishing I could be with my kids.
And, I’m happy now. The Lord has blessed me greatly. I’m not sure why. There are so many women, so many people who deserve blessings. Many of them deserve these blessings WAY more than I do. It almost seems unfair – how some of us are blessed in a more timely manner than others. I’m not sure why that is. However, what I know is: the blessing, itself is not what brings happiness. Happiness comes when I decide to put my will on the altar of God. When I do that, I feel the Spirit. He teaches me, personally, how I can be happy and blesses me with the necessary peace to overcome trials.
I believe when we find His Spirit, we find happiness.