Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of living. I have been able to see that the only way to be happy is to be obedient to God's commandments; to love and serve others. It is very simple: when you do good, you feel good.
But, there is more to that...If we dig deeper we will see that the author of happiness is God, our Heavenly Father. "Men [and women] are that they may have joy." Happiness and joy are the reason for our existence on the earth. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and He is the one who can help us be happy, IF we live after the manner of happiness (i.e. according to His laws). He provides us with the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, who can dwell in us and help us be happy. The Holy Ghost provides feelings of peace and joy than no other method on earth can provide. These feelings can't be taken away from us; adversity, death, sickness and other trials can't take them away.
When I look back at my life, the times I have been the 'happiest' were actually the hardest times in my life. That is because it is when I needed Heavenly Father most and that is when He has been by my side most. Those were times I felt strongly the presence of the Holy Ghost giving me comfort and strength.
My uncle Fawzi passed away last week. He was the last living uncle I had on my father's side. His death was so sudden and his health got worse and worse really fast. Last Saturday he was walking and talking and doing well. On Sunday he had problems breathing and died on Monday from liver failure. Shocking and strange how someone's life could end so fast! Yet, as his daughter told me the day of the funeral of her father: "When you think you won't be able to handle your loss, there comes this power from above and gives you strength...you are then able to endure and feel comforted."
This power comes from a loving Father in Heaven who knows us and knows when we need His comfort. I again felt the Holy Ghost with me during these difficult times. Heavenly Father never leaves any of us alone. He has not sent us to earth to be alone. He will be with us every step of the way if we but let Him.
We can be strong, stand tall and be happy even though we are surrounded by thorns...
Below is a view of Wadi Al-Quff. My brother took us there with him. It felt so good to walk in nature and enjoy the beauty away from all the roads, cars and people.
On a happy note I want to mention again that Heavenly Father does answer prayers. Even though sometimes what we want seems too difficult and we dare not hope for it or even ask Him for it.
A few years ago I was struggling to go to church in Jerusalem because there was no LDS church anywhere in the West Bank that I could go to and we are not allowed into Jerusalem...I asked Heavenly Father to help me go to church. I was given a job with UNRWA and was able to go to Jerusalem anytime I wanted because of the permit UNRWA helped me get...but Heavenly Father didn't stop there. Because that job was not permanent, Heavenly Father made it so that we could have church meetings in Bethlehem. And today, March 29th, the Bethlehem branch was organized. An official church branch in the Savior's birth town of Bethlehem!!
6 years ago, if someone told me this day would happen, I would have laughed and said 'no way'. When I asked Heavenly Father to help me so I can go to church, this was not what I had in mind. Nor did I even dare ask for it...yet, He knows the desires of our hearts and gives us blessings that are too amazing for us to even imagine.
I am grateful for a Father in Heaven who loves me and loves all His children. He lives and He is real. And even though many try to move away from Him by worshiping other things, He remains constant, the only true, living and loving God.