BY-WAYS - 8/27/42 - Tom's Visit from Ft. Leonard Wood

As I sit here, staring at the blank sheet in the typewriter, wondering what I should say to you, I am reminded of what a little bird told me - that one of my readers would like to make some suggestions, to improve the column, but hesitates to write me, for fear I will think her presumptuous. Oh, if she - and the rest of you - only knew how I welcome suggestions! A suggestion coming from you reveals a definite interest. What could be more welcome than that? So please be kind, and write me - and I promise to answer. To know your preferences will help so much. A letter, full of evidence of faith, came from one of my readers this past week. She is being forced into a most unhappy situation, the nature of which I cannot disclose. But Jesus might well have been addressing her when he said, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." She writes, "While running around in circles, trying to get my bearings, the still, small voice cries out, 'Be still, and know that I am God.' What could be more comforting?" And so she has placed everything in His hands. She will come out all right, for she is on God's side.

You will be interested to know how the soldier boy, coming all the way from Missouri by "ankle express," made out. He left Fort Leonard Wood late Saturday afternoon. At 6:30 Sunday evening a car pulled into our drive. It belonged to a good Samaritan, who had brought Tom all the way from Springfield, O. right to our door. He is a Cleveland man, but he came far out of his way to do a good deed. As Shakespeare wrote, in "The Merchant of Venice, ... "How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world." Tom is here to testify that truck drivers and other motorists are very good to soldiers. Our shy little neighbor next door, who has barely met Tom, sent over one of her culinary masterpieces, a luscious apple pie "for the soldier boy." How little acts like that warm a boy's heart! This past week I felt like the "old woman who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she didn't know what to do." There were five of them, two six-footers, one girl walking in the clouds, one 16-year-old, who has gone in for loud ties and socks, one adolescent, who thinks all this - and Heaven too - is lost if he can't see all the blood-tingling movies that come to our neighborhood theatre. Yes, my hands have been full, but my heart has been full, too. The full heart is always the lightest. When Virgil and I get old, and the young birds have all flown from the home nest, we will look back upon these busy days as the "golden days."***

Somewhere in the desk or bookcase is a small booklet, called "The Upper Room" sent to me two years ago by James R. Lytle, of Bartow, Fla. It is published quarterly by the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church. It has a page of Devotions for each day; as Mr. Lytle wrote, "We find it a good way to start the day." I mean to find that book, and insert some of the inspiring thoughts under the "By-Ways." Let me pass along to you, even at this late date, the sustaining thought given me by my good friend in Florida - from the pen of Daniel Poling, Editor of the Christian Herald. He was asked, "How can we keep ourselves Christians, surrounded as we are by cheating, intolerance, evils of every sort?" He replied, "First, by living one day at a time, and taking Jesus Christ into each day. If we would begin the day with Him, in spite of all that day might bring, we would find Him with us at the close of the day."***

This coming year I will need all the help you can give me; for into my hands has been placed the heavy responsibility (and honor) of guiding the spiritual lives of over one hundred little souls - for one half hour each Sunday morning - in the Junior Department of our church School. It is the privilege of a lifetime; will you help me to make the most of it? I must not use the column to discuss ways and means; but if any of you teachers and church workers care to share ideas, and suggest helpful literature, I shall be most grateful.

For you who are sorrowing may I pass on this thought of Victor Hugo's, quoted from memory, "In the darkness of night the pupil of the eye dilates, in order to see the way; in the darkness of sorrow the soul dilates, that it may see God."

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

Next - 9/3/42 - Things are not always what they seem...

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