Those early morning comments (or, joy as a choice)
There we were, four children on the couch, one sprawled out on the floor, me sitting on the floor, all of us covered in blankets or a fuzzy robe to be warm on a crisp, fall morning. Some eyes were partly or all the way closed until their turn to read. Our leader-of-the-day restarted about 4 times as he or she stuttered his or her way through the two verses, and I wondered if any of us could remember any of the 12 verses we read when the question was asked, “Does anyone have any comments?”
I pointed out that Jacob said we could “lift up [our] hearts and rejoice for all men” as we read these words (2 Nephi 11:8). Julia then pointed out that the word just proceeding that phrase was may, which indicated a choice. We have the choice to rejoice, but it’s not a given. I wish I could remember her exact words, but she explained that we have some emotional responsibility there–agency–to choose to rejoice.
There is was again: a child teaching a parent, in the fresh minutes of our early morning. Teaching me to remember how powerful agency is and how we get to choose how we face each day and face life. It reminded us of how it reminded us of President Uchtdorf’s recent conference address, when he asked if the gospel was working for us (“It Works Wonderfully!”). It reminds me of those enlightening words, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24). It also reminds me of “Choose you this day…” and that joy is a choice, just like anger is a choice, love is a choice, kindness is a choice. It is so easy to forget! We have to CHOOSE joy. We GET to choose joy. We aren’t doomed to misery. Talk about empowerment.
Such great early morning words. Such great children who would peel themselves off their mattresses to come to scripture morning study. So thankful for what they teach me. Hope I can remember this today!