Do you know what a wonderfully complicated thing a human being is?
Every feature, every portion of your body, every motion you make, reflects your mental organization.
I know a woman past middle life who has always been on the opposite side of every question discussed in her presence.
She was agnostic with the orthodox, reverential with atheists, liberal with the narrow, bigoted with the liberal.
Whatever belief any one expressed on any subject, she invariably took the other extreme. She loved to disagree with her fellow-men. It was her pastime.
Now, to walk with that woman in silence is merely to carry on a wordless argument.
You cannot regulate your steps so they will harmonize with hers. She will be just ahead or just behind you, and if you want to turn to the left, she pulls to the right. A promenade with her is more exhausting than a day's labor.
She is not conscious of it, and would think anyone very unreasonable and unjust who told her of her peculiarities.
I know a woman who all her life has been looking afar for happiness and peace and content, and has never found any of them, because she did not look in her own soul.
She was a restless girl, and she married, believing in domestic life lay the goal of her dreams. But she was not happy there, and sighed for freedom. She wanted to move, and did move, once, twice, thrice, to different points of the United States. She was discontented with each change. She is today possessed of all comforts and luxuries which life can afford, yet she is the same restless soul. She likes to read, but it is always the book which she does not possess which she craves. If she is in the library with shelves book-filled, she goes into the garret and hunts in old boxes for a book or a paper which has been cast aside.
If she is in a picture gallery, she wants to go to the window and look out on the street, but when she is on the street it bores her, and she longs to go in the house.
If a member of the family is absent, she gets no enjoyment out of the society of those at home; yet when that absent one returns her mind strays elsewhere, seeking some imagined happiness not found here.
I wonder if such souls ever find it, even in the spirit realm, or if they go on there seeking and always seeking something just beyond. It is a great gift to learn to enjoy the present—to get all there is out of it, and to think of today as a piece of eternity. Begin now to teach yourself this great art if you have not thought of it before. To be able to enjoy heaven, one must learn first to enjoy earth.
More Articles by This Author Ella Wheeler Wilcox
- Author and poet
- Born November 5th, 1850 in Johnstown, Wisconsin and died October 30th, 1919
- Famous line in poetry: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone."