Thursday, January 17, 2013

Doing what is right isn't always easy...

... and what is easy isn't always right.

And just because it is "right" doesn't mean you will be happy.

I'm lazy. I'll admit that. Please don't look too close at my floors because the Good Lord is the only one who knows when I last mopped them. The toddler has toothpaste in his hair and I am too lazy to give him a bath. I'd rather go out to eat than cook dinner.

Mopping the floor is the right thing to do. Washing the toddler's hair is the right thing to do when he has toothpaste in it. Making a home cooked dinner is cheaper and healthier than going out to eat. But the right solution to all those problems (dirty floor, dirty toddler, feeding the Herd) aren't the easy solutions, nor do they make me happy. Sure, there's joy in a clean floor, a giggly, wet two year old and providing nourishing food for your family. Yes, I am happy when my family is clean and well fed... but those aren't the key to happiness in the Walden Household.

I often find it frustrating when people say, "If you do THIS THIS AND THIS  you will find everlasting joy, AMEN!" This is especially true when it comes to various teachings of the church. Use birth control? Find everlasting happiness in Natural Family Planning! Be open to life! Do THIS THIS AND THIS and you will be HAPPY! It's easy!

For some, they do indeed find joy in the church's teaching on children, family and marriage. However, it isn't a cure-all to unhappiness. For many people, living as God has instructed us is hard. They have doubts. They struggle abstaining when they just want to have intercourse but know it is not the right time for a baby. They feel called to stay at home but miss working outside of the home. The church teaches marriage is between a man and a woman but what about that nice homosexual couple down the street? But... but... but...

The love the church. They believe she is right.The strive to obey and do so out of love. But they struggle. They doubt. They aren't filled with sunshine and rainbows.

Now, for some, there might be issues other than the church's teaching and doing the opposite (say, using artificial birth control instead of NFP) wouldn't provide the answer or happiness they need. But for some, the easier way might, at least on the outset, bring happiness

That doesn't mean the easy way is right.

See, the church never promises us floors that stay clean because I mopped them, a toddler that will not rub toothpaste in his hair AGAIN five minutes after I give him a bath or everlasting, on cloud nine, sunshine and rainbows ALL THE TIME because we obey her teachings. We aren't called to understand everything perfectly or be full of sunshine, rainbow farting unicorns all the time. We are called to listen, to obey.

Life isn't easy. Doing what is right isn't easy. We aren't promised happiness. What are we promised? Eternal salvation. Forgiveness. A God who loves us and gives us a "do-over" when we ask for it. We are promised that we will grow, we will learn, the toddler will stop rubbing toothpaste in his hair. It might not come easily, it might not come with unbridled happiness... heck, it might not come in this world. But it will come. For today, I will bathe the toddler, mop the floor and prepare dinner at home. It's not easy, it doesn't give me unbridled joy but in the long run . . . it will be worth it.

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