7 Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord–
8 Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.
9 But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren.
These verses remind me of one of my favorite passages from Lord of the Rings. Frodo tells Gandalf that he wishes all these terrible things weren’t happening in his time.
“‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'”
And so it is. There are some aspects of our lives that are entirely beyond our control. No amount of wishing will change them. We can certainly imagine and yearn for better things, but ultimately we can’t let those yearnings distract us from the work we need to do. We largely need to labor within the circumstances we have been given, and to operate on the realities that surround us.
– Do the job you really have, not the one you wish you had.
– Parent the child you really have, not the one you wish you had.
– Befriend the neighbors you have, collaborate with the coworkers you have, and so on.