Let us be sincere in our work, and having gained even one step toward a true equilibrium, hold fast to it, never minding how severely we are tempted.
We see the work of quiet and economy, the lack of strain and of false purpose, in fine old Nature herself; let us constantly try to do our part to make the picture as evident, as clear and distinct, in God’s greater creation,—Human Nature.
THE RATIONAL CARE OF SELF
A WOMAN who had had some weeks of especially difficult work for mind and body, and who had finished it feeling fresh and well, when a friend expressed surprise at her freedom from fatigue, said, with a smiling face: “Oh! but I took great care of myself all through it: I always went to bed early, and rested when it was possible. I was careful to eat only nourishing food, and to have exercise and fresh air when I could get them. You see I knew that the work must be accomplished, and that if I were over-tired I could not do it well.” The work, instead of fatiguing, had evidently refreshed her.
If that same woman had insisted, as many have in similar cases, that she had no time to think of herself; or if such care had seemed to her selfish, her work could not have been done as well, she would have ended it tired and jaded, and would have declared to sympathizing friends that it was “impossible to do a work like that without being all tired out,” and the sympathizing friends would have agreed and thought her a heroine.
A well-known author, who had to support his wife and family while working for a start in his literary career, had a commercial position that occupied him every day from nine to five. He came home and dined at six, went to bed at seven, slept until three, when he got up, made himself a cup of coffee, and wrote until he breakfasted at eight. He got all the exercise he needed in walking to and from his outside work and was able to keep up this regular routine, with no loss of health, until he could support his family comfortably on what he earned from his pen. Then he returned to ordinary hours.
A brain once roused will take a man much farther than his strength; if this man had come home tired and allowed himself to write far into the night, and then, after a short sleep, had gone to the indispensable earning of his bread and butter, the chances are that his intellectual power would have decreased, until both publishers and author would have felt quite certain that he had no power at all.
The complacent words, “I cannot think of myself,” or, “It is out of the question for me to care for myself,” or any other of the various forms in which the same idea is expressed, come often from those who are steadily thinking of themselves, and, as a natural consequence, are so blinded that they cannot see the radical difference between unselfish care for one’s self, as a means to an end, and the selfish care for one’s self which has no other object in view.