What does it mean to be happy? Joseph Smith said, "Happiness is the object and design of our existence...." The scriptures talk about joy and happiness. I have a testimony of the prophets and scriptures, so I know that happiness is something that we can have in this life.
I think because of my depression and current events in my life, that I am unable to even feel hope for happiness. I find it difficult to grasp that my once contented life now has no hope. Please don't misunderstand...I'm not in the depths of despair or need a suicide watch. But when one is depressed for an extended amount of time, one begins to lose hope of ever climbing from that pit. One begins to think, "Is this my life? Is this what I will have to look forward to for eternity? Will there be happiness once 'eternity' begins?"
What about now? When life becomes so difficult and even moments of pleasure are interrupted by depressing thoughts, how do we continue to have hope for something better?
For me, it is my testimony. A friend once told me that when she was depressed, the only thing that kept her sane was that she knew she had a testimony. She didn't feel it, but she knew her testimony was real and continuing to attend church was important for her to exemplify for her family. I don't have a family that reminds me of being an example, but I do have a testimony. My testimony has sustained me through other difficult times.
I question the meaning of happiness because I've always heard it was more of a state of being rather than a destination. But, I don't understand this. I'm not happy dealing with the difficulties in my life. Even before these difficulties started, I never considered myself happy. I was content. Is that happiness? Can we be perfectly happy in this mortal, fallen world?
When I think of that quote by Brother Joseph, I wonder if my definition of happy is skewed. The quote goes on to say something about as long as you pursue the path that leads to happiness can you achieve it. Meaning, we need to follow God's way for us. And truly, if we are rebelling against God then we will not be happy. We may have pleasure in our activities, but once the pleasure fades, we then feel the ramifications of sin.
But there are a lot of good people that have sad, depressing lives. And some of them are happy people. At least they appear to be. And I know that I appear to be happy. I would venture to say that no one who sees me daily has any idea that I am not happy and am suffering from depression. But it takes a lot of energy to keep up that facade (another topic). My point is that happiness is obviously something personal. And since there is a season for everything, perhaps it's my season to not be happy. That whole opposition thing, you know.