BY-WAYS 12/11/39 - People to Inspire

Today may I tell you about three brave people, who are carrying on in the face of great handicaps? These are not cheerful stories, but they are inspiring; and the people in them are so cheerful and courageous, that their stories should not be depressing. The first is my neighbor - only half a block away, who is fast losing her eyesight. Through some strange disease of the optic nerve, first the left eye lost its vision, and now the right one is going. This past year has been one long Gethsemane. The day I met her she had just passed through the heart-breaking experience of becoming bewildered in traffic as she tried to shop in the neighborhood stores, and having to ask for help. The cruel part of it was the woman who helped her across the street treated her as if she were intoxicated. She is learning to adjust herself, and takes fresh courage from those who have triumphed over that affliction. I told her about Mother Taylor - such a wonderful person, who, each New Year's Eve, prays, "Lord, make me cheery." And all who know her will testify that she certainly sees to it that that prayer is realized. Then a remarkable blind woman comes to teach her how to sew. She had not known about self-threading needles until about a month ago; and now she is learning how to hem towels for The Society for the Blind. She captures all the joy she can from each day. Her kind husband, a nurseryman, takes her along with him when the drive is long enough to justify the waiting. She still does her own housework, and is so happy that she can sew, now that she is denied the pleasure of reading.

Have you noticed that some of the very best people in this world have to suffer the most? I have in mind now a certain school teacher in this city, who befriended me when I started to teach in this big, strange city. A mutual friend introduced us, and Marie took me under her wing that very first school morning, giving me the sense of security that only a loyal friend can convey, teaching me the intricacies of a city school system, and preparing me for the little eccentricities of an aging but fine principal. Marie was that kind of friend to everyone - unselfish and generous to a fault. Her days were filled with good deeds. She never married, though she had plenty of chances. She was utterly devoted to her widowed mother, who passed away three years ago, leaving Marie quite desolate. She then went to live with her married sister. I hadn't seen her for two years; she called me on the telephone this past week - not for sympathy, mark you, but to inquire for the family, and learn the way to Lilac Road. She was in an auto accident over a year ago, injuring her spine so badly that she was in a cast for sixteen weeks, and is just now able to get around on crutches, and can get in and out of a car. She speaks only of the great kindness shown her - of her wonderful sister and brother-in-law; and I know there is a host of friends that she has won and kept through the years. She will not be able to teach for another year; but she is living - just one day at a time, grateful for the good things of life that come her way.

The third person is my uncle, my father's only brother - so different from Father that I can hardly think of him as my uncle. Uncle Arthur has been a missionary in the West all of his life. We have met only once - in Texas; and at that time he frowned so on my girlish frivolties that I decided I didn't like him so well. But I have learned since then to appreciate his fine qualities and zeal for God's kingdom. He is now eighty years old; and for two years he has been a victim of creeping paralysis. His wife is a ministering angel, who has the sole care of him. For six months his sisters have been expecting news of his release. With the greatest difficulty he would dictate messages for his family or the local newspaper (in California). But now he has lost the power of speech; as I understand, he has managed, with his one good, but very feeble hand, to tap out the following message to his paper on his typewriter:

"In this day of advanced civilization there is an increasing desire among intelligent people to be correctly informed on world events; they will be satisfied with nothing less than the latest, up-to-date, accurate news service. How disappointing then are the garbled, unreliable censored reports that filter through, especially from foreign countries. The world is pretty well "fed up" on propaganda, and is hungry for real facts. Has it ever occurred to you, reader, that the Bible - that little used, much abused, unappreciated book - not only lays down a perfect plan of salvation and solution of every conceivable human problem, but is also a down-to-date encyclopedia of the most valuable information concerning events that are to happen in the future. The news columns of our greatest dailies, insofar as they are truthful and reliable, corroborate with startling clearness the prophecies made hundreds of years before Christ was born! How was it that the prophets of old, chosen from the common walks of life, just ordinary men, were able to foretell with marvelous accuracy and detail, twenty-five hundred years ago, events that are transpiring today? There is but one answer. They were merely instruments in the hands of God, to convey God's message to mankind. It seems a pity that such a remarkable book as the Bible, should be so little appreciated. Those who ridicule it and seek to discredit it are either ignorant of its contents, or are so blinded by prejudices that they cannot judge of its true merit." (Signed) Arthur G. Burlingame.

Whether you agree with him or not, you must admire his earnestness and great will-power. To this good uncle - this dying man - I send my pledge that I will take up the torch, not in such worthy hand as his - nor in his way - but in my own way try to "carry on." The outstanding characteristic in these three people is their faith in God. They look to Him for help. "Ask, and ye shall receive."

Faithfully yours,
Florence B. Taylor
4501 Lilac Road, South Euclid, Ohio

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