BY-WAYS - 10/1/44 - Sweet are the Uses of Adversity - September 14, 1944

Shakespeare put these words into the mouth of the Duke of Arden in "As You Like It," when the Duke found beauty and peace and contentment in the Forest of Arden, after being robbed of his dukedom, by his scheming and usurping brother. Adversity is another word for "affliction;" I am thinking today how sweet are the uses of affliction, if that affliction becomes a refining fire. Poor Job, who had every affliction and trial imaginable, said, "When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Paul, the great apostle, who was bounded and hounded and grounded by adversity, wrote while in chains in prison, (or rather, dictated the letter to Epaphroditus)" ... the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." (Phillippians 1:12). David, the sweet singer of Israel, wrote, "Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word." Some of the greatest hymns were born of affliction. Isaac Watts, author of "Joy to the World," "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," and 600 other hymns, was stricken at the age of 29, and was an invalid for thirty years.

When I was a little girl, I thought all the great and inspiring people were dead - that all the really great people were recorded in the Bible. Now we know the fallacy of that belief. Among the truly inspired poets of today is Mrs. Grace Noll Crowell. You feel she must have come through a refining fire. And, sure enough, she did. She suffered great pain, and the darkness of discouragement. But her faith, which she exercised every day, grew strong beyond compare. Her poems have become "lights in a dark world." Alexander Seversky, who lost a leg in the last war, converted his personal tragedy into a personal triumph and a blessing to all the liberty-loving world. Probably the world's greatest designer of airplanes, he attributes his remarkable achievements in that field to the loss of his leg. He had to use his head. And now he does not even miss his leg. I like to think of that valiant mother who wrote to her other children while speeding to the bedside of her war-wounded son, "Now I want you to think with me, with all your heart and soul, that the loss of one hand and a thumb, etc. is not going to handicap in any way his success in life. The only way that I can fathom it out ... is that it must have happened for a reason, and that reason is that he is going to be a bigger and better man without that hand than he would have been with it."

In similar way I see that happen to my own son-in-law. Up until Tommy was wounded in that motor cycle accident, while carrying army dispatches, he was just marking time, doing a distasteful job, and wishing all the time he was home. The five months in the hospital in England changed him. When he went to a rehabilitation camp in England, he became so enthusiastic about the program for helping wounded solders that he decided to take the course for instructors. He is now experiencing the deep satisfaction of helping those who have fought and bled for their country and are fighting their way back to normal suppleness of body. Tommy is having a birthday on October 7, and, although I am a little late in telling you, I thought may you would just send him a note of greeting, even if it is late. The other part makes us secretly rejoice that they care enough to be homesick. The boys and I took them to the bus depot at 1 o'clock today - Sunday - (Virgil had to work) that is why this letter is a bit ragged, but full of joy.

Florence B. Taylor.

Next - 10/5/44 - Canning Season

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