"The good that is for thee shall gravitate to thee," said Emerson; and his words are but an echo of what the wisest and noblest men have believed and lived by throughout the ages. It is the foolish and shortsighted who clutch wildly at anything that comes to them, because they have none of that most god-like of virtues which teaches its possessor how to wait.
Let us look for a moment at the great Wheel of Fortune, as in our imagination it revolves, slowly bringing its gifts large and small within the reach of each bystander. How differently these gifts are awaited!
See! There are some who, grown weary with long watching, have fallen asleep. While they are unconscious the long-desired boon passes by, perhaps not to return until too late to bless them. Then there are others who scorn sleep, and despise those who yield to it. Their every nerve is strained in the intensity of their gaze. It is nothing to them that in their determination to be first they ruthlessly push weaklings aside and prevent their fellows from getting the prizes due to them.
Success! Success at all costs is their motto. See, one has at last reached his goal; and his eyes glow with satisfaction, for the prize—the coveted prize—is within his grasp. What is it? Surely it must be something valuable to have been worth so much effort!
With a piercing shriek the disappointed man flings from him what he had so long striven to gain. It is dust and ashes! Around are fierce disputes as to the fairness of the awards. "Why," asks the indignant crowd, "are the prizes not given according to merit? Why are they left to blind Chance? "And while they are questioning, the Wheel goes on carrying their fortune once more beyond their reach.
What a relief it is to turn towards the patient man! His brow is furrowed, for he has known many cares. The most god-like of virtues is not acquired without suffering. But he stands with clear, steady gaze fixed on the Wheel. Although he hears the disputes they do not disturb the calm of his soul. Has he not looked into the Eternal mysteries? Does he not see that the standard of the crowd is not the standard of the Wheel's Master?
Presently a child who is struggling to get near the Wheel falls at his feet. Poor waif! Stranded before it is fairly launched on the sea of life. With eyes full of tender compassion the patient watcher bends over the little one and raises him in his own strong arms.
"What a fool!" say some of the bystanders. "He is hampering himself needlessly and deserves to miss his chance." But the Master of the Wheel, of whose power gravitation is only one sign, sees the loving act with joy, and when at length the time comes for the patient watcher and his charge to receive their gifts, it is a double portion that comes to each.
So we turn away from the motley scene. It is, after all, we say, the selfish and idle who are disappointed in what they receive at the hands of Fortune. They who embrace every opportunity of service as it arises and in patience possess their souls have no cause to find fault with the prizes awarded them.