Reporters in the war-smitten countries of Europe tell us that one effect of the horrors of death, wounds, and heartbreak is that the men are turning back to the churches. Out of the obscene muck of materialistic force is springing a revaluation of the spirit in man.
Man is a curious animal. He seems to give forth his finest product only when crushed. We expect him to “curse God and die,” and suddenly his face lights up with the heavenly vision.
We loathe poverty and fight disease and avoid wounds, tyranny, and oppression. Yet, somehow only when these come, do the rarest flowers appear on the human bush.
I know a young man, twisted, crippled, paralyzed, unable to feed or dress himself, yet who sits daily by his window with a shining face. He is cheerful, helpful, a fountain of joy to all who know him. The boys love to gather in his room at night and play cards and tell stories. One would think he would be a gloom and a burden; he is an uplift. You soon forget his limitations. You soon cease to pity him, for he does not pity himself. He does not drain you; he inspires you.
In how many another family is the sickroom the shrine of the house. How many a stricken invalid woman is the resting-place for her worried husband, the delightful refuge for her children’s cares!
It is not the strong, wealthy, and powerful that always gleam with optimism and radiate hope. Too often the house of luxury is the nest of bitterness, boredom, and snarling. Petulance waits on plenty. Luxury and cruelty are twins. Success brings hardness of heart.
The world could get along without its war lords, millionaires, and big men, with all their effective virility, better than it could do without its blind, deaf, hunchbacked, and bedridden. Some things we get from the first group, but the things we get from the second are more needed for this star-led race.
Little girl, with twisted spine and useless legs, with eyes always bright with golden courage, with heart ever high with undaunted love, we could spare all the proud beauties of the ballroom or the stage better than you.
Their bodies are finer than yours; but then we are not bodies.
What a strange and strangely magnificent creature is man! And how proud his Maker must be of him, for all his faults! You cannot crush him. Put him in prison and in its half-light he writes a “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Strike him blind and he sings a “Paradise Lost.”
When Beethoven died, a post-mortem examination showed that since childhood he had suffered from an incurable disease, aggravated by improper medical treatment and by want of home comfort and proper food. His liver was shrunk to half its proper size. He always had family troubles that annoyed him beyond endurance. His finest works were produced after he was deaf. And this was the majestic soul that was unparalleled master of music, whose art was immeasurable, will be immortal! Yet we have heard fat artists whine because they are mistreated!
What a piece of work is man! Too wonderful, too unconquerable, too divine for this earth! His home must be among the stars!