Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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The Helpful Life.
"What shall I do," said a tender-hearted
woman, "to stop useless suffering over
the misery in the world I cannot relieve?"
   To do this and yet retain sympathy, it is necessary
to become a philosopher.  Add to philosophy a
belief in reincarnation and a devout trust in the
Creator.  Then study socialism and cultivate
thoughts of universal brotherhood.
   No good is accomplished by impotent sympathy
which causes the one who beholds misery to suffer
without being able to alleviate the misery in any
   It is just so much more misery added to the
world's store.
   It is a good thing to utter a silent prayer for the
peace and happiness of those we see in sorrow and
cannot relieve, and to assert for them whatever
good they lack in their lives.  Then go about your
business and leave them with the great Master of
the universe.
   Concern yourself with living such a life as will
not add to the world's sorrow.
   Be unselfish.  When you stop and look into the
causes of so much wretchedness in the world, you
will find it entirely and wholly caused by selfish-
   Every time you allow yourself to do a selfish act,
you are helping on those misfortunes which so dis-
tress you, and increasing the complications of the
social conditions.
   Every time you overcome a selfish impulse, you
set in motion unseen thought forces which help
   Keep a close guard over yourself; do whatever
you can to aid the unfortunate, but be careful that
while you give individual assistance you are not
leading a selfish life at home or in business, and
thus laying an underground road to disaster for
many more than you are aiding.
   Keep your trust in God's wisdom.  Remember
He has brought the world up from chaos and con-
fusion, and humanity up from wild savagery to its
present and much improved state.  Bad as it is, it was
once much worse.  Wide as the misery is on the
earth, it wsa much wider only a few centuries ago.
   Do your part to the best of your ability, and
leave God to do His.
   It is folly to make yourself wretched because you
cannot clothe and educate all the orphans in the
world, or heal all the sick, and cause all the blind
to see.
   The thing you can do is to drop a little seed of
kindness and justice and unselfishness into the
minds of the little children near you; to help the
invalids of your acquaintance to believe health is
their portion and will come to them, and to assert
spiritual sight for the whole blind world.
   You will be helping to better and brighten the
earth if you do this constantly.
   Many a poor orphan is better off than children of
wealthy parents!  Many an invalid and blind man
has found spiritual illumination through his
physical misfortune.
   Improve the conditions about you by living as
nearly to the Golden Rule standard as you can.
Then let God do the rest, and enjoy yourself in the
thought that "all is well with the world."
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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