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Optimism

Not long ago I read the following gloomy bit of pessimism from the pen of a man bright enough to know better than to add to the mental malaria of the world. He said:


Life is a hopeless battle in which we are foredoomed to defeat. And the prize for which we strive "to have and to hold"—what is it? A thing that is neither enjoyed while had, nor missed when lost. So worthless it is, so unsatisfying, so inadequate to purpose, so false to hope and at its best so brief, that for consolation and compensation we set up fantastic faiths of an aftertime in a better world from which no confirming whisper has ever reached us out of the void. Heaven is a prophecy uttered by the lips of despair, but Hell is an inference from history.


This is morbid and unwholesome talk which can do no human being any good to utter, or listen to.

But it can depress and discourage the weak and struggling souls, who are striving to make the best of circumstances, and it can nerve to suicide the hand of some half-crazed being, who needed only a word of encouragement and cheer to brace up and win the race.

This is the unpardonable sin—to talk discouragingly to human souls, hungering for hope.

When the man without brains does it, he can be pardoned for knowing no better.

When the man with brains does it, he should be ashamed to look his fellow mortals in the eyes.

It is a sin ten times deeper dyed than giving a stone to those who ask for bread.

It is giving poison to those who plead for a cup of cold water.

Fortunately the remarks above quoted contain not one atom of truth!

The writer may speak for himself, but he has no right to speak for others.

It is all very well for a man who is marked with smallpox to say his face has not one unscarred inch on the surface of it. But he has no premises to stand upon when he says there is not a face in the world which is free from smallpox scars.

Life is not "a hopeless battle in which we are doomed to defeat."

Life is a glorious privilege, and we can make anything we choose of it, if we begin early and are in deep earnest, and realize our own divine powers.

Nothing can hinder us or stay us. We can do and be whatsoever we will.

The prize of life is not "a thing which is neither enjoyed while had nor missed when lost."

It is enjoyed by millions of souls today—this great prize of life. I for one declare that for every day of misery in my existence I have had a week of joy and happiness. For every hour of pain, I have had a day of pleasure. For every moment of worry, an hour of content.

I cannot be the only soul so endowed with the appreciation of life! I know scores of happy people who enjoy the many delights of earth, and there are thousands whom I do not know.

Of course "life is not missed when lost"—because it is never lost. It is indestructible.

Life ever was, and ever will be. It is a continuous performance.

It is not "worthless" to the wholesome, normal mind. It is full of interest, and rich with opportunities for usefulness.

When any man says his life is worthless, it is because he has eyes and sees not, and ears and hears not.

It is his own fault, not the fault of God, fate or accident.

If every life seems at times "unsatisfactory" and "inadequate" it is only due to the cry of the immortal soul longing for larger opportunities and fewer limitations.

Neither is life "false to hope." He who trusts the divine Source of Life, shall find his hopes more than realized here upon earth. I but voice the knowledge of thousands of souls, when I make this assertion. I know whereof I speak.

All that our dearest hopes desire will come to us, if we believe in ourselves as rightful heirs to Divine Opulence, and work and think always on those lines.

If "no whisper has ever reached us out of the void" confirming our faith in immortality, then one-third of the seemingly intelligent and sane beings of our acquaintance must be fools or liars. For we have the assertion of fully this number that such whispers have come, besides the Biblical statistics of numerous messages from the other realm. "As it was in the beginning, is now and shall be ever more, world without end, Amen."

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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."

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