"Whatever you do don't forget the beautiful things of life,—the music and the songs of it, the beauty and the radiance of it, the joys and the comradeships and the love in it."
There are hundreds of men and women today who are so busy making a living that they are missing Life entirely. It is horribly possible to become rich in worldly possessions and at the same time be terribly poor in regard, to the best things earth and heaven have to offer. You say, "that man is lucky, he is worth a pile of money, everything he touched has turned to gold in his hands; he is indeed a successful man." Stop a bit, l should like to ask a few questions. With all his gold has he also found Love? With all his possessions does he possess friendship? Has he true and faithful companions? Does he love Nature, her hills and valleys, her sunshine and flowers? Is there music in his life, and songs, and laughter? Ah, how often the gold man has striven for; how often the position he has labored for; how often the riches he has reached out after have robbed him of the most precious things of life. There is nothing so golden as Love; and nothing so precious as friendship; and nothing so beautiful as the heart that can hold Nature dear, seeing in her tiniest flower a world of beauty, and in the light of stars can feel the presence of God. You who are making haste to be rich, thinking thereby to be successful, let me ask you to stop and think before you go any further, and ask yourself what are the truest riches, and what does it mean to be really and truly successful?
I have known more than one man in his youth who loved the sound of laughter and joyousness, whose joys were simple and pure, and whose life was crowned with friendships and sympathies. I have known others who loved music and art, books, and all that made up the World Beautiful. I have seen them again in middle life when they were looked upon as successful men, but all the laughter had died out of their eyes; their ears had long been deaf to any joyousness save the one joy they had learned to appreciate—the jingle of gold. They had few friends, for becoming rich they had lost that beautiful simple faith in their fellows which alone makes friendship possible, and suspicion had taken the place of trust. They had worked so many of the hours of each day lest another should grab the gold they had coveted so, that they had no time left for music or art; and the financial column of the Times at last became their one "book." Where once love and happy laughter made soft and sweet curves about the mouth and eyes in the days of youth and freedom, there was now the hard and sometimes cruel lines of avarice and discontent. For the rich man—he who counts gold as riches—is never satisfied, he always wants more. Is it possible, I ask, to call such men successful? Rich in this world’s goods they may be, high in this world’s positions, honored by titles, flattered by men—but successful? No! They are poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. Poor, because they have mistaken the gold of earth for true riches; miserable because they want more and yet more; blind because they live without the light of love, of joy, of friendship, of beauty; and naked because they brought nothing into this life and they have nothing worth taking out. Oh, my readers, make no mistake about it he who has missed the best things life holds for the children of men can never, never be called successful. And the best things are the love of some faithful one whose heart beats ever in perfect sympathy with our own; the smiles, laughter, and play of little children; the delight in music and flowers, the love of beauty in Nature and Art; the trust and confidence of friends—friends who know us within and without, and love us knowing us. These are the true riches, this is real success. Men and women may have gold without all these things, but they cannot be happy. A man may have very little gold, but having all these things he is supremely happy. Let no one dream for a moment that this writer despises gold. Let no one imagine for one moment that I would not strive to overcome every difficulty in the way to success, and leave no stone unturned to achieve all that is worthwhile. But, and here is the difference, I would have you give time to your heart. Don’t forget it! I would have you give some of the hours out of the twenty-four to play. Oh, don’t forget it! I would have you still love music, and make the business, or the Exchange or the Profession, stand aside at times so that you may hear the best music, or see the best Art. Give your soul a chance. Don’t forget that you are soul as well as body, and give the soul of you a chance to grow. Look in your glass tomorrow morning and see what kind of a face you are growing. Do. If it is getting hard and set, then be sure you need to alter a lot in your daily life. If the eyes are dropping at the corners, and the wrinkles are like crows feet hanging down, then be sure you need to laugh a little more. If you are beginning to look old, my friend, jump up and run away from you; money making, your prospecting, your investments, your calculations, and grow young again.
What is that I hear someone say? "lt is too late now, I ought to have read this article years ago. The Epoch is always setting some impossible Ideal before one." Stay a moment. Let me, for your encouragement tell you a little story. A real true fairy tale. Once upon a time there lived a man who had once been a very joyous boy, full of fun was he, day in day out. The laughter seemed, to live in his blue eyes always, and his lips were surely made for smiles. Yes, and better still this boy was made for love, for a great, great love. As the years passed, the lust for gold entered his heart, and making the same mistake that thousands have made, he mistook gold and position, fame and name for real worth, and gradually his heart became hard, and his soul seared. Love, the great love that might have stayed with him and crowned his life with bliss—Love went away, and he was so desolate, but he didn’t know it! The laughter died out of his eyes, and the smiles no longer lingered about the once full red lips, for they had become hard and straight, and the smile of the cynic seemed most at home there. He grew rich, as men count riches; he rode in his carriage; he travelled first class; he dined with the great, and tried to make believe he was happy and content. But at times he remembered a happy boy with the laughter in his eyes, and the smile on his lips, and the great, great love of his life. Some writer in last month’s Epoch thanked God of Memory. This man had good cause to thank God for memory, for memory saved him. He knew, though over two score years had left him thus hard, and dry, and miserable, he knew at heart that there was still hope and time for him. He left his gold, his investments, his striving after fame, and position, and honors, and he went away alone to think.
Gradually the light came to him, revealing to him how far from successful he had been. Slowly he realized all he had forfeited in his mad rush for gold. He called imagination to his aid, and he made believe that he was that beautiful boy again, the boy with the laughter in his eyes, and the smiles upon his lips, and the great, great love in his heart. He went to hear music; he visited the picture-galleries; he looked up old friends, he had compassion on the poor and the suffering. Gradually the change came. He grew younger and happier, and hardly recognized himself when he looked at his face in the glass that for so long had revealed to him the face of the miser and the loveless soul. Ah, he got back more than the laughter to his eyes and the smile to his lips, for friends came again, and sympathy came again, and kindness came again, but best of all Love came again and crowned his life. What happened to one man may happen to all men. It is never too late to mend. To the young I would say,—"Whatever you do don't forget the beautiful things of life—the music and the songs of it, the beauty and the radiance of it, the joys, and the comradeship, and the love in it." To those who have already forgotten I would cry,—Come back again, back to the beauty and the joy; back to the laughter and the smiles; back to the friendship, and the trust, and the confidence of human hearts,—come back again to that which ever crowns life—come back to Love.