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TIME'S SWEEPING DAY.
New Year always seems to me like Time's sweep-
ing day. Bright and early, like a good servant, he
is up and setting the world in order for us. He
flings old dates, old almanacs, old account-books,
old reckonings all into the ash-barrel, and he bun-
dles together all our old worries, our grudges, our
sorrows, our fears, and gets them ready for the rag-
man to carry to the pawnshop of the past.
It seems to me the basest sort of ingratitude when
we pull open these bundles, and scatter the contents
over the clean new year which Time has set in such
What must the patient old fellow think of us
when he sees an old thread-bare worry hanging in
the hallway which he left spick and span but a few
hours previous? And how poorly repaid for all this
care must he feel when he finds dusty old grudges
lying all over the world so recently tidied up for
our pleasure, and moist wash rags of old sorrows
flung upon the carefully swept floor.
There is something wonderfully exhilarating in
the new year to me. It is like a new birth--a new
baptism in life. It is like the waking after a Turk-
ish bath, refreshed, clean, strong, vigorous. It
is like Monday morning after a Sunday rest and
I think the world stops in its mighty whirl around
the sun on the last night of the old year, shakes
itself like a tired horse out of the harness, breathes
a long breath, and fills its great lungs full of fresh
air ready for a new lunge through space.
On New Year's Day I can feel the new vigor
and force which the world has found, and life al-
ways seems to don a new grace.
It seems to me that every living soul ought to
feel on New Year's that there is hope for him in
life, no matter how dark his surroundings, how
utter his failures in the past.
In one year rightly directed he may retrieve lost
fortune, lost reputation, lost happiness, if he will
but think, and resolve, and act. It is no use to re-
gret. The people who sit down and regret their
past follies and mistakes are of no earthly use in
the world. But the people who resolve to make
their past errors warnings for the future may climb
to usefulness and success through those very mis-
No one (since Christ) has ever lived a perfect
life and made no mistakes. To err is but human,
and the moment you realize you have erred,
the moment you wish you had not made the false
step, face the world with a brave heart and real-
ize that you have gained just so much valuable
knowledge, and that you are just so much better
able to meet the new year and go through it wisely.
Do not, I beg of you, drag your useless regrets
into the new year and soil its white pages with
melancholy mourning over a "wasted past" and a
No life is wasted while the human soul is still
in the body, and the brain still able to think and
plan. You may be seventy years old, and all your
past may be a failure, but before you reach seventy-
one you may retrieve your past, and bless the lives
of all near you, by good temper, kind deeds, for-
bearance, and unselfishness.
I know a woman of seventy odd years who all
her life has rebelled at her hard lot, and who has
embittered the life of many near and dear ones by
her constant complaints against the injustice of her
situation; she has prayed for death constantly for
years, and has imagined herself a burden to all her
relatives and friends.
During the last year a great change came over
her, and from a bitter, sarcastic unhappy woman
she has become a brave, hopeful, cheerful one, and
is casting sunshine, joy and brightness into the
hearts of all who come near her. Already she has
transformed a household by her cheerfulness and
courage, and she now prays for a long life that she
may continue her good work.
If you are feeling ill and believe your health is
failing I beg of you turn your back on such ideas
New Year's Day. Do not drag your aches and
pains into the young year, but make up your mind
that your body is going to renew its forces with
this new year. You have no idea how much you
can accomplish with this resolution. Do not let
old maladies lap over into the new year. Stop
talking and thinking about your sufferings and they
will leave you, to a degree that will astonish you.
Don't soil the clean windows of the new year with
the mud of your old grudges. Life is too short and
too precious. Be sure that time will avenge you
if you have been wronged. I never received a wrong
or an injury in my life that time did not avenge it
for me, if I let the matter alone.
I do not believe that Providence is a respecter of
persons, and it must do for others what it has done
for me. Whenever I have stopped to avenge my
own wrongs I have always had cause to regret it
afterward, and time has shown me how successfully
it would have been attended to without my inter-
vention. It is only human to resent an injury and
to feel an injustice, but do not stop to revenge
yourself, and turn your thoughts away from these
things with the beginning of the new year.
If your record of the past year has been ever so
full of sorrow, sickness, failure, depression or sin,
never mind; bury it all with the old year and turn
a brave, smiling face to the new.
The world is kind, and there will be more hands
held out ready to help you up than there were ready
to beat you down; and, thought you may be at the
bottom of the ladder of health, morals, and fortune,
you may climb to the very top before another new
year, if you only believe you can and resolve you
Men, women and emotions. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago : W. B. Conkey, 1893.
Thanks to Bonnie Char for typing this chapter.
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