Good morning! We made it to March and yesterday the sun decided to show that it truly exists. What more can we ask!? (grin) With my perfect cup of coffee and the forecast of 50 degree weather my mind and fingers are able to collaborate in writing for you!! At the library this week I found a book that is now out of print, Doctor Hudson’s Secret Journal by Lloyd Douglas. I was drawn to the book because of my knowledge of the famous writing by this same author, The Robe. I highly encourage you to find a used copy of this book, or else find one at your library (when I return mine – ha!). 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 taking on a verse from scripture (they leave the exact verse for us to determine)…the advice of 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. I have now ordered another book by Douglas entitled Magnificent Obsession. This one is available and I believe will be worth our reading. This was written by Douglas ten years prior to the journals of the doctor, on a young man that survives an accident at the expense of the death of a surgeon. This young man found the journals of the doctor and changes his life, giving anonymously because of inspiration from the journal (the doctor was the fictitious doctor in the journals of our book that is out of print). The premise of these journals are – find those to help that will accept our help, give in whatever way is feasible, but have them promise confidentiality in the receipt of their gift, asking them to then do the same for another when they someday have the opportunity as a thank you to the original giver. Here 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 no one 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. I love the idea of stealth….I remember having a meal paid for at an airport restaurant. When Stu and I went to check out we were told our tab had been paid by someone that reminded them of someone they once knew. The money for that single inexpensive meal made an impression I never forgot. Such a simple act by whoever gave the gift. The fact I didn’t forget I believe was because the giver didn’t get recognized. The giver found life because of this. Who knows what their loss was. They were determined to live regardless of whatever their life had been given. 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? Thank you for letting me read and type for you. Go, make today be one that makes you proud. 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)
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.