BY-WAYS - 5/7/42 - Priorities

There are priorities on steel We ration sugar, limit tea,
And many other metals; And save our precious wool
No chromium for gadgets, nor For soldier's blankets, uniforms, -
Aluminum for kettles. Our silk for rip-cord's pull.
We must use rubber sparingly; In time of war, in time of peace
'Tis allocated for There is no priority
Air bombers, tanks, and trucks, and ships - On kindness; no one holds on grace
The instruments of war. A sure monopoly.

We need not allocate good deeds -
The steps in Heaven above;
There is no limit put on faith,
No rationing of love.

What prompted such a "poem"? The evidence of unrestricted kindess, nurtured, perhaps, by this new spirit of sacrifice - of giving all we can to help our boys win the war. If only our brave lads did not pay so dearly, war time conditions would be good for the rest of us. We grow so self-centered, so self-indulgent - we become spineless jelly-fish. But what of kindness, and all the rich fruits of the spirit? Mother Taylor tells of the rebuke she received from her beloved pastor many years ago. Knowing her as I do, I am sure there would be no limit to her kindness and helpfulness to those in need. When her sight began to go, her British independence asserted itself; she refused to accept any "charity," and, at the same time, was repulsing the innate kindness of those neighbors and friends who had known neighborly love at her hands in days gone by. Rev. Woodruff, whose span of life and of stewardship had been long, spoke to her with unaccustomed sternness. "Mrs. Taylor, do you think you hold a monopoly on kindness?" Mother has never forgotten that just rebuke. She accepts, with true graciousness, all sincere gestures of kindness, though she manages to keep her finances in such good repair that she is economically dependent on no one. I have come to believe that true generosity consists of giving the other fellow a chance to be generous. I am not speaking of money - but the innate generosity of the human heart.

God is Love. If we are created in His image, then we, too, are love, and should manifest that love in every act of our lives. That doesn't mean that we should refrain from spanking our children when they need it. "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth." This letter comes from a heart overlowing with gratitude for many undeserved kindnesses. Just this week two wonderful birthday cakes came my way - from unexpected sources. Now, when you are "fat and forty" (and then some) and your children are already eating too many sweets, there is only one thing to do - share that cake with others. So I kissed housecleaning goodbye for one whole day, and tried to get my friendships in repair - and show appreciation for past kindnesses. It was a soul-satisfying experience. I wish there were time and space to tell you of the interesting personalities: of the woman who decided to display her American flag every clear day - though she is the first (and, so far, the only one on her street) to do it; the bright and witty woman, whose eyes are red from weeping over the departure of her only and beloved brother for camp that day, yet put a cloak over her heartache, to take an animated interest in others; the truly forgiving young woman who buried all animosity along with the mortal remains of her mother-in-law, who had treated her with utterly unwarranted cruelty. I came home, touched and humbled by the greatness of those who, like Hannah in Lloyd C. Douglas' "White Banners" keep to private valor."

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 5/14/42 - THE EMPEROR RETURNS

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