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Newspaper Page Text
TO AN ALLEGED DOWN-AND-OUTER
A person who says he is a man, above 40, with a wife and seven small
children; who claims he used to be fairly successful in business and gen
erous enough with his. money to win renown among charity workers; but
who says he was too trustful of alleged friends, and who, broken in health
by losses and worry, now sees nothing ahead but the poorhouse, writes us
to ask if we offer good and convincing reasons why he should not end the
family's agonies by a wholesale killing, himself included. The letter it is
anonymous, possibly bogus, though rich in human interest included this
"I pray that your reply be not some soft sophistry, or fancy philosophy
as to the necessity of our having to meet and put up with certain crosses,
etc. I have heard this preached for more than forty years; and I have,
followed the advice to cast bread upon the waters, only to find that my boats
came back loaded to the sides with bitter tears. The very ministers who
have been loudest in their Christian preaching have been the first to desert
me when my money was gone."
To a discouraged, nerve-broken man who really has the Hamlet hunch
to "let death end all" and who lacks the means or help of friends to go
into the woods for a saving rest, we can say nothing with- any quality of
magic in it.
But you might better be a sport than a quitter. Men have upbuilt from
worse conditions into careers of honor and value. They have done this by
sheer dint of unconquerable will power; by grimly resolving NOT to give up.
Think, for example, of Mary Baker Eddy; a failure at 55, judged by
conventional human standards yet rising to wealth, to power, to tremend
ous influence at the age when many men are thinking of retiring on pen
sions. If she, a woman, could ido that, conquering sickness, prejudice, the
natural bias against new cults, why should you-, a man, with the spur of a
dependent family, indulge the cowardly whim, of thinking of murder as a
method of escape? . . ,
Human will power is the greatest power on earth. Cultivate it. Banish
the fog in your Drain. It can be done if you want to do it If you set forth
to do it with the whole might of your personality. Sleep out doors. Take
long walks. Find a mild form of outdoor play. And make it. your job to
force brightness into the shadowed recesses of your mind.
We don't believe what you tell us of the preachers. . There may be
preachers' like you describe but we don't think they are plentiful. Try to
find a sympathetic parson who has been through the mill of life and who
can understand. If you don't happen to know where to look for such a
man, hunt for a ripe old doctor. Surely there are such in every community.
He may not be able to do much for you with his medicine; and if he's the
kind of healer we have in mind, he frankly won't try. But he will have
sympathy, comprehension; he will do your soul good.
Failing these, tackle most any chap who has had trouble and human
experience. What you need is human fellowship. You've been doing too
much brooding. Go to a ball game. Watch a bunch of kids at play. Seek
to win the affection of some dumb animal. You're not down and out You
only think you are. No man is down and out until he is carried out fee
first. Brace up, old top, and be a sport Why, at your age you ought to be
just learning how to live.