Greetings, my friends!
It seems a long time since I have "talked" with you. That old flue does to a person what a washing machine does to a nurse's uniform: It leaves you all washed out and limp. But this person is all starched again (and dry, you may add, after reading her column), and sitting cocky - for she has not only a housekeeper, but a handyman, who repairs everything from automobiles to leaking faucets, and builds his mother-in-law a set of kitchen shelves, just for good measure. All of which is by way of saying that Tommy is home on a 30-day furlough, after spending 3-1/2 months in the army hospital, with a most stubborn case of yellow jaundice. Estelle went back to his camp the first of February, and has been with him ever since. They came home last Sunday night. Her office job was waiting for her; but she would rather do housework. And Tommy wants her to get plenty of practice at cooking - again, for that happy day when the war is over, and young couples can start building their homes together.
Now, enough of of family gossip. There are many things of which I want to write you. But, at this Lenten season, I cannot think of anything more inspiring than President Ralph Cooper Hutchison's farewell address to the graduating class of W & J last May. Melvin Martin, graduating "cum laude," was in that lucky class, and to him I am indebted for this speech, which is a classic:
"For you, as members of our first war class, this conclusion of your college career involves a cruel paradox. Prepared for the ways of peace, we send you forth to war. Taught to love your fellow man, you are to serve in his destruction. The stern necessities of this war are antithetical to all that you believe and know. Can this war-torn society be the good life for which you have been in preparation?
The answer is affirmative. This is the good life, and you need at this solemn hour to understand why. You did not make this war or cause the conditions out of which it arose. Nor did Christ make his cross or cause the social degradation out of which its shadow across His life. He turned not away. He set His face steadfastly toward it. He met the issue of evil. He transformed that degraded instrument of torture and death in the most beloved and sacred symbol in the history of thought. He sanctified it to be a sign of hope and salvation for all mankind.
The question is not what this war will do to you. It is rather what you will do with this war. You can make it into one of the epochal and inspiring events of world history. It, like the cross, can be made beautiful. It can be lifted from dogged and dull defense into a flaming crusade for the freedom of mankind. War, essentially as evil as was the cross, can be transformed by the strength of your battling and by the purity of your purpose. It can be brought to shining and holy victory.
Learn this last lesson of college, that your lives cannot be conditioned by an evil which may engulf you; neither by sin nor corruption, by poverty or disease, by cruelty, or tyranny. But your lives, yea, your destinies will be determined by the way in which you meet these evils. It is not the evil that counts. It is what you do with it.
Then go forth to the good life which is nothing less than conflict with evil. Set your face steadfastly toward it. In the joy of your strength you may be impaled upon it. Its spear may pierce your side. Its nails may transfix your hands. But you will conquer and redeem war, and sin, and evil. This, I think, is what an earlier warrior meant, May his words be yours tonight.
"Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."(Signed) Ralph Cooper Hutchison. To this ennobling speech, which is like the torchlight of great crusade, I can only catch the reflection, and inscribe the word "AMEN."
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 4/22/43 - ... Like Lazarus
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