If you're keeping up with my blog, you know that we recently vacationed to California, thanks to some generous friends. On the drive home, Robert and I had some time (LOTS of driving time) to talk about things. One of the questions was, "What was your favorite part of the trip?"
This led to a lot of comments like, "I loved how Tommy loved the train and thought the train robbers were cool!" or "My favorite was seeing how much Tommy loved the water even though he was scared of it at the same time," or "He really enjoyed the show at Knott's Berry--I loved the sounds he was making as he watched it!"
I realized that all of our positive comments about the trip revolved around the things that Tommy enjoyed. Really, almost the whole trip was based around things that we thought would be fun for him--playing at the park, the kiddie rides at Knott's Berry, the ocean (he is a complete water bug), the children's discovery museum, playing with friends, etc. And boy did he have fun. It was our best vaca with the babe so far! We all had a great time.
We all had a great time because we are happy when he is happy. Making him happy is what we wanted to do the whole time. This brings me to my point: we are happiest when we are not focusing on what will make US (ME) happy, but what we can do to make OTHERS happy.
I was reading a book a few weeks ago (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe) which is partly about a middle-aged woman who is unhappy with her life. Anyway, as the story progresses she inadvertently makes friends with a little old lady at a nursing home. There is one part near the end of the book when this middle-aged woman brings her nursing home friend a surprise dinner of buttermilk biscuits, fried green tomatoes, sweet corn, and lemon pie--the meal that the old lady is always talking about. She says that watching how excited her little friend was to get the surprise meal gave her a great deal of real happiness. Rather than all of the clubs she had attempted to be a part of, products she had tried, and theories she had tested, this simple act of planning and making someone else happy is what brought her genuine happiness.
President George Albert Smith said that "our eternal happiness will be in proportion to the way that we devote ourselves to helping others." I think that this applies to our earthly happiness, as well. The more we seek to help others be happy, the more happiness we will find ourselves. We are told over and over to lose ourselves in the service of others, and our own problems will become light. The light bulb flashed for me about this when we were reminiscing after our trip.
So...go make someone happy! And maybe the light bulb will flash for you, too :-).