Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Pass it On

This article is from the “Hearth and Home” Magazine, 1921. What a wonderful reminder to us all-

by Alan C. Stanton

If a blessing falls to you,
Giving life a rosy hue,
Brightening a dreary day
With its sunny, cheery ray,
Share it with your fellow men.
Pass it right along, and then
You will find it doubles up,
Overflows your brimming cup.

If a message you should hear,
Bringing courage, faith and cheer,
Through the shadows ringing true,
‘Tis not meant for only you!
Pass it on; another soul
Struggling hard to reach the goal,
Will find hope and comfort, too,
In the word that comes to you.

We thank the author of that bit of rhyme—both for writing it, and for sharing it with us all. It certainly rings true; and if we were all to put into sturdy, everyday practice the keynote of it the world would be a far happier dwelling-place for everybody. Suppose we make the resolve that we will do this; that we will share every pleasant word of smile, every kind action, every hit of good news that comes into our lives, radiating friendliness and cheer instead of ill-feeling and gloom. Not long ago we met an old acquaintance—a woman whose life has not been all sunshine. We remembered her as one who rarely smiled, whose mouth drooped at the corners, and whose forehead was barred by lines of care. Never was a greater change. Alert and fresh-looking, she paused and held out her hand in greeting. The mouth-corners turned up, the crisscross lines had lightened visibly, and her smile was radiant. With the freedom born of old time friendliness we asked her, after the first exchange of courtesies, what in the world she had been doing to herself. “I was sure you didn’t know me at first,” she said, the smile deepening to a cheery laugh. “Let me see- we haven’t met for more than two years, not since I returned from my cross-country trip. I was called to California, you know, the illness of a sister there. At the time I was really ill myself; my ear was a source of worry, constantly growing more deaf, and life seemed less worth the living than when I saw you last. Even I allowed myself to dread the journey, and wished with all my heart I did not have to take it, which is not the best way to set forth on any undertaking, you know. But on the train I met one of the bravest and dearest of women. She wore a little service-pin bearing two gold stars, so I knew of the grief that had shadowed her life. But not one word did she utter concerning her own heart-aches, when I poured my own tale of woe in her ears, dwelling with especial bitterness on my growing deafness.

“Instead, she smiled as she laid one hand lovingly over mine. ‘My dear,’ she said, ‘what you need is a change of base. You need to think differently of yourself, to realize that you are “born of the spirit,” and not of the flesh—the real you, I mean. If I give you a little talisman will you promise to use it faithfully?’ She did not wait for my answer, but busied herself with writing on a card, and this she put into my hand when she gathered her belongings together at the next stop. ‘Don’t forget,’ she said, with that wonderful, sunny smile. ‘Keep this by you, and whenever you get downhearted, and blue, and feel that he world—God’s world—is going wrong for you, read it. It is every word true, even though you may not think so at first, and by persistence in its use you will come to realize its verity—the eternal verity of good.’ Not until she had gone, waving good-bye at me from the platform, did I look at my ‘talisman,’ which truly seemed to me the sheerest nonsense: ‘I thank God that I am made in His image and likeness—harmonious, strong and well. I thank God that I am subject to no material thing. All is MIND. I am given dominion. My word shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that to which I send it. My ear is WELL.’ Of course I knew it wasn’t true, because it couldn’t be; but it haunted me. Over and again I went back to it, reading it until I knew it by heart. Presently, as the train sped on its way, it occurred to me that there might be a grain of truth in it, and my heart was happier for even that admission. Made in God’s image and likeness—and that I had always been taught, and had accepted in a way that meant nothing—how could I be sick, or miserable, or have defective hearing? Well, to cut my long story short, that precious talisman had made life a beautiful thing for me. Today I am well, my hearing is normal, really better than ever, and I am never so happy as when passing the blessing that has come to me on to others. My only regret is that I cannot tell that wonderful friend I made on the train what she did for me.”

Let your light shine—do not hide it under a bushel or elsewhere. If anything has helped to make your life better worth the living, let it do the same thing for others. The seed you sow may sometimes fall on stony ground; never mind—the sowing is all you are responsible for. This does not mean that we are to force our ideas on another, willy-nilly; it does mean that we are never to let pass an opportunity to share that which seems good to us. Note how that slip of paper changed the tenor of a life, and how the influence set in motion circles on and on. Of course, it might have happened that this acquaintance of ours, after reading her “talisman,” tossed it out of the window, in which case it might still have fallen into the hands of one who needed it teaching—we believe it would have, because no good effort is ever lost. But it didn’t go out of the windows, and it is cherished today as a precious thing—a veritable magic-worker; yet not so, in the usual acceptance of the term, because its working is so exactly in accord with the perfect law exemplified by the Master’s saying, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” And it was given, as the best things always are, without money and without price, and out of the earnest desire to helper another as the giver had been helped.

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