There are many ways of doing things, but the Heart-Way is the best way! There is the way of Duty—so-called—often a very hard way; a way that whitens the hair before the time, and robs the face of its youth and beauty; for so often the word—Duty—is used to cover up an ugly word we are afraid to use. Sometimes it is the way of hated custom but we are not brave enough, nor strong enough to break away from it, so we call it duly!
Again it is the way of Fashion and Convention. How this way galls the free-born spirit, and did men and women call it by the true name they would call it Slavery and Compulsion. There is no duty in the real meaning of that much abused and misunderstood word—except it be actuated by love. Love, and love alone makes real duty, under whatever circumstance or relationship it may come, and without love the way of duty is the way of death.
There is the way of obligation. A terrible way! I go, because I am expected to go; I do, because it is the usual thing, and I am expected to do it. It is a cold and lifeless way. Better refuse to go—better leave the thing undone. The going and the doing are useless, empty, they leave the world cold. Those are the ways of the indifferent—the way of shadows.
There is the way of self, where the "I" looms so large in the act that even God can find no place in it, much less the earth brother.
So many ways of doing thing, but truly the Heart-way is the best way—it is the way of love!
And love's way is the way of sacrifice through Joy, because it loves! Love never dreams of calling it duty. Is there any need? Do we ever talk of duty when we love? It is the way of eager service, of feet that run to do, and of hands stretched out with the gifts they bear, because they love, and love must express or suffer. Love's way is the way of losing self, utterly, completely,—because we love! Surely, the Heart-way is the best way!
There are many ways of administering a reproof—say, to a naughty child or a wayward youth. We may do it by the way of anger, and so set a flame raging that may burn up the good we would encourage, leaving the wrong strong and determined. There is the way of condemnation—one that has done untold harm. We might choose the way of the cynic—it is the way of bitterness and gall, a blasting and a withering way. And some small minds choose the way of ridicule—the way of disaster and defeat. Depend upon it, the best way is the Heart-way!
Sometimes it may be necessary to speak plain words of explanation if not actual reproof to grown men and women "It may be," I say. Please make a note of that. I do not say it is! Here we are on very dangerous ground. We may do it in the spirit of the Pharisee the l am holier than thou, way. Alas, for the consequence! There is a Heart-way here also, and well indeed will it be when all the teachers and the leaders, and those who "serve at the Altar" have learned this Heart-way. It is sad, sad, when they know it!
There are even many ways of greeting another in the street. There is one way that speaks of no love, no sympathy, no "going out" to meet the other. It is a cold, dead way. We shiver as we pass, and wonder if a cloud has passed over the sun! There are ways that say so plainly "so far shalt thou come, but no further, come not near me in my splendid isolation." It is the way of the starved and famished heart,—but it is not the Heart-way! But there are ways, blessed, beautiful ways, of even saying Good Morning! A way that will set the whole day going joyfully, no matter how sad we may have begun it! A way of looking! What a Heart-Way there can be in just a look! A smile! A word in passing! Oh, so many beautiful ways in the Heart-way!
Suppose everybody from today made up their minds to do everything by the Heart-Way! What a wonderful world this world would be!