At one point in my trip to Switzerland a month and a half ago, I was meandering around Bern and after passing the 10th watch store in about 5 minutes, I remembered that the watch I used to use while working in the temple before I came to the UK had broken and it would be nice to pick up a new one, and I was in Switzerland after all. So I found a nice white watch that I was quite pleased with and took it home. I was so happy with my purchase, that I thought I should also invest in a regular watch to wear on a daily basis. I used to wear a watch all of the time when I was younger, but I honestly can't even remember when or even why I stopped wearing watches. But after perusing a few Swiss Watch stores, my mind began to create an image of the "perfect watch", the one that would match my personality perfectly, and not only reflect time but also somehow reflect a piece of my soul, since it would be attached to me pretty much every day for the next very long foreseeable future.
Finally, after a long time of perusing the internet, I found on Amazon a watch that I thought seemed to be everything I wanted in a watch. Well, I hated the strap it came with, but that could easily be replaced. So I ordered this expensive watch (and a replacement strap) and eagerly waited their arrival. When the package finally did come and I opened it, I was in for a sad surprise. The watch face that appeared to be a beautiful slightly pink color in the picture on the internet ended up being a boring brown color. And then, when I went to open the package containing the watch strap replacement, I accidentally cut through part of the leather of the strap, not just the package wrappings. I was devastated. I spent so much money on this watch, tried to take so much care in picking out just the right one, and everything turns out wrong.
Probably most of you are thinking "why didn't you just return it?" That thought did cross my mind, but my tired little overworked brain could only think how I didn't have time to return the watch and it seemed like a complicated process to do so, so instead I was stuck forever with my mistake. It was like re-living the parable of the burnt garlic bread (from a post I wrote a few years ago: The Parable of the Burnt Garlic Bread) Basically, when I was a little kid my favorite food was garlic bread, but every time my mom would make it, she would burn it. I would get so excited to eat the most delicious thing ever, only to be disappointed time and time again at ending up with only burnt garlic bread. And now years later, my life still somehow seems to be going in that vein.
Today I took my "not dream watch" out for it's virgin run in public. And do you know what, by the time I got back from church, I was convinced I was the coolest person in the world because I had such a fabulous watch. Granted, I still think that a "dusty antique rose" colored watch would be cooler, but it turns out such a color in the current style of my watch just does not exist. It also turns out, that I was really happy with my watch, despite all of the imperfections. I think we spend too much time imagining up the perfect whatever, and miss out on the fact that right in front of us are the perfect ingredients to give us happiness, even if they aren't the perfection we imagined.
I've been pondering a lot the scriptures in 2 Nephi 2, where it talks about how it was needed to have opposition in all things, and that without the bitter we would never know the sweet. I think while we often use these scriptures to explain away why there are trials in life, I've realized as well that this means that when our lives are full of trials and bitterness, these things too need to be balanced out, and that for all of the trials and bitterness that is present, God will send us tender mercies and happiness. We just need to look out for it and recognize it when it is there. Satan will do whatever he can to distract us from this happiness and keep us from finding it. He will tell us that the happiness in front of us isn't the perfect, ideal thing that it could be, so therefore there is no way it could bring joy. But those are Satan's lies. There is beauty and joy all around us, and we don't have to wait for perfection before we allow ourselves to be happy.