American Editor, Lecturer and Essayist
William George Jordan
American Editor, Lecturer and Essayist
Let us seek to reign nobly on the throne of our highest self for just a single day, filling every moment of every hour with our finest, unselfish best. Then there would come to us such a vision of the golden glory of the sunlit heights, such a glad, glowing tonic of the higher levels of life, that we could never dwell again in the darkened valley of ordinary living without feeling shut in, stifled, and hungry for the freer air and the broader outlook.
Much of the seeming ingratitude in life comes from our magnifying of our own acts, our minifying of the acts of others.
The opening words of the world?s greatest book are ?In the beginning?, and they are the most important words of married life; they open its chapters of greatest joy and keenest sorrows. All its problems are most easily mastered in the beginning.
When man has developed the spirit of Calmness until it becomes so absolutely part of him that his very presence radiates it, he has made great progress in life. Calmness cannot be acquired of itself and by itself; it must come as the culmination of a series of virtues. What the world needs and what individuals need is a higher standard of living, a great realizing sense of the privilege and dignity of life, a higher and nobler conception of individuality.
Life is a state of constant radiation and absorption; to exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiations.
Neither philosophy nor religion can give any final satisfactory answer that is capable of logical demonstration, of absolute proof. There is ever, even after the best explanations, a residuum of the unexplained. We must then fall back in the eternal arms of faith, and be wise enough to say, "I will not be disconcerted by these problems of life, I will not permit them to plunge me into doubt, and to cloud my life with vagueness and uncertainty. Man arrogates much to himself when he demands from the Infinite the full solution of all His mysteries. I will found my life on the impregnable rock of a simple fundamental truth: ? 'This glorious creation -with its millions of wondrous phenomena pulsing ever in harmony with eternal law must have a Creator, that Creator must be omniscient and omnipotent. But that Creator Himself cannot, in justice, demand of any creature more than the best that that individual can give.' I will do each day, in every moment, the best I can by the light I have; I will ever seek more light, more perfect illumination of truth, and ever live as best I can in harmony with the truth as I see it. If failure come I will meet it bravely; if my pathway then lie in the shadow of trial, sorrow and suffering, I shall have the restful peace and the calm strength of one who has done his best, who can look back upon the past with no pang of regret, and who has heroic courage in facing the results, whatever they be, knowing that he could not make them different."
The supreme courage of life is the courage of the soul. It is living, day by day, sincerely, steadfastly, serenely,-despite all opinions, all obstacles, all opposition. It means the wine of inspiration from the crushed grapes of our sorrows. This courage makes the simplest life, great; it makes the greatest life-sublime. It means the royal dignity of fine individual living.
Worry is discounting possible future sorrows so that the individual may have present misery.
Life is a wondrously complex problem for the individual, until, someday, in a moment of illumination, he awakens to the great realization that he can make it simple, ? never quite simple, but always simpler. There are a thousand mysteries of right and wrong that have baffled the wise men of the ages. There are depths in the great fundamental questions of the human race that no plummet of philosophy has ever sounded. There are wild cries of honest hunger for truth that seek to pierce the silence beyond the grave, but to them ever echo back, ? only a repetition of their unanswered cries.
Our highest hopes, are often destroyed to prepare us for better things. The failure of the caterpillar is the birth of the butterfly; the passing of the bud is the becoming of the rose; the death or destruction of the seed is the prelude to its resurrection as wheat. It is at night, in the darkest hours, those preceding dawn, that plants grow best, that they most increase in size. May this not be one of Nature's gentle showings to man of the times when he grows best, of the darkness of failure that is evolving into the sunlight of success. Let us fear only the failure of not living the right as we see it, leaving the results to the guardianship of the Infinite.
There are more people on this great, big, rolling earth hungering for sweetness, tenderness, and words of gentle appreciation, genial confidence and generous affection than are starving for bread.
Worry is the traitor in our camp that dampens our powder and weakens our aim.
Life is not a competition with others. In its truest sense it is a rivalry with ourselves. We should each day seek to break the record of our yesterday. We should seek each day to live stronger, better, truer lives; each day to master some weakness of yesterday; each day to repair past follies; each day to surpass...ourselves. And this is but progress.
Profuse expressions of gratitude do not cancel an indebtedness any more than a promissory note settles an account. It is a beginning, not a finality. Gratitude that is extravagant in words is usually economical in all other expression.
There is a royal road to happiness; it lies in Consecration, Concentration, Conquest and Conscience.
Life is not really what comes to us, but what we get from it.
Reputation is the shell a man discards when he leaves life for immortality. His character he takes with him.
Those who wisely live within an income rarely have to face the problem of trying to live without one.
Life is not something to be lived through: it is something to be lived up to. It is a privilege, not a penal servitude of so many decades on earth.
Reputation is what the world thinks a man is; character is what he really is ? Reputation is the shell a man discards when he leaves life for immortality. His character he takes with him.
To us all, comes, at times, the great note of questioning despair that darkens our horizon and paralyzes our effort: "If there really be a God, if eternal justice really rule the world," we say, "why should life be as it is? Why do some men starve while others feast; why does virtue often languish in the shadow while vice triumphs in the sunshine; why does failure so often dog the footsteps of honest effort, while the success that comes from trickery and dishonor is greeted with the world's applause? How is it that the loving father of one family is taken by death, while the worthless encumbrance of another is spared? Why is there so much unnecessary pain, sorrowing and suffering in the world, ? -why, indeed, should there be any?"
Hurry, the scourge of America.
Love can transmute all duties into privileges, all responsibilities into joys.
Satisfaction is perfect identity of our desires and our possessions. It exists only so long as this perfect union and unity can be preserved. But every realized ideal gives birth to new ideals, every step in advance reveals large domains of the unattained; every feeding stimulates new appetites, ? then the desires and possessions are no longer identical, no longer equal; new cravings call forth new activities, the equipoise is destroyed, and dissatisfaction reenters. Man might possess everything tangible in the world and yet not be happy, for happiness is the satisfying of the soul, not of the mind or the body. Dissatisfaction, in its highest sense, is the keynote of all advance, the evidence of new aspirations, the guarantee of the progressive revelation of new possibilities.
Tolerance makes the individual regard truth as higher than personal opinion; it teaches him to live with the windows of his life open towards the east to catch the first rays of the sunlight of truth no matter from whom it comes, and to realize that the faith that he so harshly condemns may have the truth he desires if he would only look into it and test it before he repudiates it so cavalierly