Sunday, 10 August 2014

The answer to everything

Yes, Sister, it is I. Helen has told all about the stunt higher up. I can feel that, although, I wasn't at hand myself. Somehow, I begin to feel older and more serious. That word stunt, for instance, does not fit at all. It was the most momentous instant, or eternity—I can't say which even now—of my up to now recalled existence. Hell, as you imagine it, is a mild and milky term to express a reality like the one I still marvel I survived. Helen's faith in me was firm, or I could never have come through with my senses left. No use dreading it, Mamma. That won't help a bit, and it simply weakens the resisting power besides. Just put your house in order as swiftly as possible, and cut out everything you can see there as unworthy. Then when your moment comes it will be not only easier, but less prostrating. I never clogged myself with possessions, God knows; but even with that handicap off I nearly went under for keeps.

Mamma wants to know whether smoking did not cut the largest figure in my destiny there. No, it did nothing of the sort. It was lack of faith and courage, and a self pity that did the tissue-breaking which caused death. Once and for all get the idea out of your head that any appetite or indulgence cuts a big figure in any destructive way here. It merely affects the body there, and only that because it is in connection with mental and spiritual destructive forces. I cannot put this too emphatically, not only for Mamma, but for all of you. One fit of temper, for instance, can break down more healthy cells in the body than a year's smoking or eating or drinking; because, and note this carefully, the forces of mental and spiritual elements are as a thousand to one of physical ones. Depression, cowardice, in all their forms, are more potent than T. B. germs at their most riotous moments. This fact hides the secret of all so-called New Thought and Christian Science cures. They try to teach the full subservience of physical matter to spirit or soul quality. These qualities are about as close together, say, as a rock and a man; a lumbering ox or elephant cart beside the latest automobile. Don't class at all, in fact. When doctors will quit studying germs, and begin to study characteristics and temperaments, they will come a heap nearer the goal they seek. Gloom, pessimism, fear, discouragement, hopelessness; these are what kill people, not the so-called disease. Bad temper, harsh judgments, lack of patience, and small powers of loving are what destroy bodies.

Look well to the spirit of intolerance, all of you. Live and let live; fight and let fight. Every fellow has a full sized job of his own on hand if he only knew it. One ought not to waste one ounce of power in criticism; he needs all he has, and then some, to meet and grapple with his own problems. This doesn't mean just Mamma and her smoke mania; it means each and all. There is no one who doesn't waste more or less time passing judgment on somebody else's faults or weaknesses. If we all could realise that every word or thought in such a case acts as a weight hung about our own necks, a weight we must free ourselves from before we can join any decent society here, we would keep a watch on ourselves that would soon bring joy all along the line, as well as health and power.

I suppose I take a chance in telling all this, but I want, if possible, to help you from the awful hole I was in, and it can do no harm. Look closely to your own habits, your thoughts, and see what can be profitably eliminated. One must come over here light. Light means in all senses. I begin to see truth in the Bible I never noticed before. Those old fellows got wise to the game. Lay not up treasures on earth, etc. I'm short on quotation, but you recall the idea. The treasures were to be laid up over here where they had some true value. Earth values are so false. They almost overlook entirely what lasts, what moulds the universe, which is human character. That's the answer to everything—character. It has nothing to do with property, or possessions so-called. B's true value, that is, what his money means to him, is just being an honest man; that's what he brings here, and it is all he brings of what he calls his wealth, and he could have had the same place here without one cent in his purse, or a bond in the bank. An honest man: that's nobility enough. That's the hallmark. These may gather from diverse quarters; any who have worked and been honest, whether for salary, income, or wages, it makes no difference whatever. Even one's garments here are made from one's quality of character. I am only glad mine are not quite black. I can assure you they are not white, though happily lighter than when I came. Sometimes I am wild to tell all I have found out; then I wonder if it would do any real good. Perhaps; I can't say.