Helping Others Secretly. Giving to find meaning. Kindness quotes. “Doctor Hudson’s Spiritual Journal” by Lloyd Douglas (March 2023)

Susan's Thursday morning note March 31, 2023
Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal by Lloyd Douglas (secretly giving gifts throughout life)

Good morning!  Quiet morning before the winds begin.  Steam from my mug.  My angel of dawn peering through the window, but distracted as she looks up at the cranes sending their greeting.  Another treasure beside me.  Doctor Hudson’s Secret Journal by Lloyd Douglas.  I was drawn to the book because of my knowledge of the known writing by this same author, The Robe.  This writing is from 1939, the fictional journal of a widowed doctor who is encouraged to overcome life seeming to be short-changed and unfair by secretly doing deeds for others that no one knows (except possibly the beneficiary) that the secret was done.  How such fulfillment, happiness, soul-satisfaction comes from the secret kindnesses we can give to others, in some cases altering entirely someone’s life because of our involvement.

The journal entries take place during the war and his thoughts include reflections on the war, on single-parenting, on giving secretly to others, on striving to make life meaningful.  Below are some of the other thoughts I noted that I believe you will like to think about this week.


You can insure your memories, but you will have to do it by yourself.  And they are very real property, too.  Some of them are assets; some of them are liabilities.  Be careful what kind of memories you store up to live on in a rainy day.  Be spiritually thrifty.  Put aside some memories that will nourish you in your declining years.  Be mindful not to stock memories that will keep you awake nights.  It will be too bad if, every time there is a little cessation of the noise and confusion, you hear the sound of people sobbing – people who loved you.  It will be very good if, when the noise about you subsides a little, you can remember the words and tones of gratitude – of people who lived more abundantly – because of you.

On choosing who to spend our time with.

More and more I am believing in what someone has styled “the contagion of character.”  And I make a deliberate endeavor to expose myself, whenever possible, to the influence of people who possess some peculiar nobility…we are well within our rights if we cultivate the acquaintance of persons whom we have discovered to be in possession of specialized talents in the field of character-building.   One such acquaintance may serve as a stimulant to us; another as a sedative.  One man laughs his fears and frets away and another growls at them.  It is fortunate for us if we can recognize the exact effect that other people have on us.  Then we know when to seek or avoid them. 

Journal entry on a message he heard on spiritual oxygen vs. spiritual nitrogen in survival for our souls.

God is in the sunrise; God in the sunset…what sunsets are made for are to give you mental repose…God appeals to the human eye in his creation, to the human ear in music…These messages are in the nature of spiritual oxygen.  Without them, we cannot live as spiritual beings….then he talked a little about the properties and phenomena of oxygen.  We have to breathe to live, and it’s the oxygen that we’re after.  We can’t get on without it, and we recover it from the air by breathing.  When people become anemic, spiritually, it may be for lack of oxygen.  Perhaps there are no sunsets…mountains…waterfalls…we get our oxygen through the eye and ear – and the other senses.  (by seeing God’s creation)

Nitrogen.  You can’t live without it, but you must work for it.  You can’t breathe it.  It is not free.  It is in the soil, in the plants, in the wheat, in the meat; but not free.  Spiritual nitrogen, on which the soul feeds, must be captured.  You must invest, you must be willing to wait with the patience of a farmer, you must not quit sowing because there was a drought.  But if you strive, God will reveal to you, by His spirit, some self-disclosures which He cannot give you in a sunset, or by starlight, or by music.  Many people who can breathe are hungry.  Then he talked about what one may do to acquire the needful nitrogen; the investment of one’s life in the up-building of other people, the steady alignment of oneself with the forces that lead up and on; costly adventures sometimes,; the more costly, the more rewarding.

I love the advice especially of life being rewarding when we look to help others.  With noone except the recipient knowing that we even became involved.  Our circumstances are usually out of our control, but what is in our control is our ability to give.  Even if our only ability is a genuine smile.  We all have different gifts.  They don’t have to be monetary to make a difference.  We have an epitaph to write tonight on how we will use today’s minutes.  They will go so quickly.  What will we write?  Will the words be worthy of being printed?  Notice details. Hear the birds as they arrive for spring a little off-tune. Look into eyes. Thank you for letting me read and type for you. For coming into our store. Have a beautiful day.  Susan

Dear Lord, help me to spread thy fragrance everywhere I go.

Flood my soul with Thy spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.
Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me but only Thee O Lord!
Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest; so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light O Lord will be all from Thee; none of it will be mine;

It will be Thou, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise Thee in the way Thou dost love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach Thee without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force, 
the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to Thee.  
         John Henry Cardinal Newman 
                      Listed in Mother Teresa: Meditations from a Simple Path under her favorite prayers.
When you have done a good deed that another has had the benefit of, 
why do you need a third reward - as fools do -- 
praise for having done well or looking for a favor in return?                       
                   Marcus Aurelius

When you receive a kindness, remember it; when you do a kindness, forget it.                           
                  Greek proverb

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping him or herself.  Serve and you shall be served.  If you love and serve people, you cannot, by any hiding or stratagem, escape the remuneration.                              
                  Ralph Waldo Emerson


Latin for this week:
Auget largiendo. He increases by giving liberally.
sub rosa - "under the rose) (from the practice of hanging a rose over a meeting as a symbol of confidentiality)

Works Cited:
Douglas, Lloyd C.  Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal.  Boston.  Houghton Mifflin.  1939.
Mother Teresa.  Meditations From a Simple Path.  New York.  Ballantine Books.  1996.