Where does joy come from? Where do you find lasting happiness? I have asked this question to thousands of people and have gotten varying responses, from money, to girls, whatever else people want at that moment, all these answers are far overwhelmed by those who say that lasting happiness for them comes from having a happy family. The movie Iron Man says it well, Tony Stark is "... a man who has everything... and nothing" because he has lots of money but no family.
The hardest trials in our lives often come when they hit closest to home, its often the worst when it affects our families. My great great grandmother lived through one of these nightmares. Her name was Dorothea, she lived in Chicago in 1911 and it was at this time that her husband left her. She had two kids and as you can imagine felt quite alone and abandoned. Her family and friends gave her the advice to move to California so that she could find work more easily. She decided that was a good idea and borrowed some money from her family and took her small, struggling family on a train to southern California.
When she arrived in California she found a cheap hotel room and had enough money to stay there for a day or two. So she left her kids in the room and told them not to answer the door if anyone knocked and started walking, stopping at every store and asking for a job. After about an hour she found a place that the manager agreed to hire her for just a few days because they were short staffed with one of their employees was sick.
She excitedly got right to work and went to stocking produce shelves. After a few hours of work, she saw a man come in that looked a little shady. She saw him reach out and take an apple off a shelf and sneak it into his pocket. Realizing this wasn't right she thought about it for a minute and then decided to confront him. She told him that he shouldn't become a thief for the price of an apple and that if he was hungry, the manager was a pretty nice guy and would probably let him have one if he just asked and he really needed it.
After considering what she said silently the man nodded and walked over to the manager. A few minutes later she noticed the man was still talking with the manager and that the two of them were laughing. Then they shook hands and the shady man left. The manager then walked over to her and said "Well that was interesting.... If that man comes back and takes something, it's ok. He is the owner of the shop." Dorothea was so embarrassed, and started to apologise but then was cut off. The manager said "Don't be embarrassed, he was very impressed, he wants to hire you on full time! What do you think? Do you want the job?" A startled "yes" was all she could manage.
The home is the best place to learn and apply gospel principles. Just as Dorothea had no idea who would be watching her actions, the same is true for children, they watch and learn from their parents actions often far more than their words. Also, the best way to draw closer to God is as a family. This poor widow showed what family truly means by her dedication to provide for her children. I believe that the family is established by God, and that we can live forever with our families after this life if we do the things we need to in order to prepare for the life after this one. Our choices matter and have lasting consequences for more than just us.