Many of you remember the five golden tickets in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Dieter F. Uchtdorf explains it as he says in his talk “Forge Me Not.” Part of His message is what I wish to share with you today:
“In the beloved children’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the mysterious candy maker Willy Wonka hides a golden ticket in five of his candy bars and announces that whoever finds one of the tickets wins a tour of his factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Written on each golden ticket is this message: “Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket … ! Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you! … Mystic and marvelous surprises … will … delight, … astonish, and perplex you.”3
In this classic children’s story, people all over the world desperately yearn to find a golden ticket. Some feel that their entire future happiness depends on whether or not a golden ticket falls into their hands. In their anxiousness, people begin to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar. The candy bar itself becomes an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket.
So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket—the ticket that they believe holds the key to the happiness they have always dreamed about. For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home or perhaps freedom from stress or worry.
There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings—we hope and seek after things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.”4 The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event—our golden ticket—to appear.
One woman wanted more than anything else to marry a righteous priesthood holder in the temple and be a mother and a wife. She had dreamed about this all her life, and oh, what a wonderful mother and loving wife she would be. Her home would be filled with loving-kindness. Never a bitter word would be spoken. The food would never burn. And her children, instead of hanging out with their friends, would prefer to spend their evenings and weekends with Mom and Dad.
This was her golden ticket. It was the one thing upon which she felt her whole existence depended. It was the one thing in all the world for which she most desperately yearned.
But it never happened. And, as the years went on, she became more and more withdrawn, bitter, and even angry. She could not understand why God would not grant her this righteous desire.
She worked as an elementary school teacher, and being around children all day long simply reminded her that her golden ticket had never appeared. As the years passed she became more disappointed and withdrawn. People didn’t like being around her and avoided her whenever they could. She even took her frustration out on the children at school. She found herself losing her temper, and she swung between fits of anger and desperate loneliness.
The tragedy of this story is that this dear woman, in all her disappointment about her golden ticket, failed to notice the blessings shedid have. She did not have children in her home, but she was surrounded by them in her classroom. She was not blessed with a family, but the Lord had given her an opportunity few people have—the chance to influence for good the lives of hundreds of children and families as a teacher.
The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.
This is not to say that we should abandon hope or temper our goals. Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don’t close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day’s ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.
The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy.”