JUST BE GLAD was published in 1907 and written by Charles F. Raymond. As you can see, this old tome was well-loved, with hand torn pages and thoughtful essays. It is a sweet little book. Here is the first essay.
The Tree At The Door
We observe that nature carries all her plans forward in harmony and that there is order in everything.
We do not wonder at the growth of a tree; we know that it yields itself willingly to the influence of the season, giving the blossom and the bud, the leaf and the fruit. We see nothing unusual in its growth.
Yet when we behold a man who grows, who goes steadily forward, who appropriates circumstances to himself, the sorrows to make him gentle, the dangers to make him brave, who keeps his face to the storm, we mark that man in surprise. Yet are we not more than the tree at my back door that, though stationary, holds captive the sun and soil to produce the fruit.
We observe that nature does not hurry; there is no confusion in the woodland at this approaching spring-time, although there will soon be a great beating of carpets in our back yards.
The leaves do not come until they are introduced by the buds, and the buds do not venture until they are wooed by the sun and rain; neither do the birds appear until nature bids them.
We observe that nature is just and that she is a great appraiser of values, and knows how to build. The snowdrop comes quickly, a prelude to the springtime, but it disappears as we admire. We are taught by these things. We know that the grain grows more slowly - it must bear the heat and cold, it bows before the wind.
The flowers are beautiful, the grain is commonplace - but by the grain the world is fed. So we who are plain people, we who are not lithesome of figure, elegant of speech, or handsome of face, we who are the rugged of life, may take heart again. We are the producers, for it is by us the world is fed.
Yes, the flowers fill their purpose, the flowers of springtime; the grain fills its purpose, and up from the earth, cold, hard, and dark, comes both beauty and bread, for the seed lays tribute to nature and nature pays it willingly.
So let us, her children, appropriate to ourselves all the sunshine to make us glad, all the good-fellowship to make us responsive, all the patience we find in anyone, all the virtue we behold in our neighbor. Let us grow. The tree at my back door has but the soil, the air, the sun, the snow and rain. We have the wide world. It is all ours, and let us strive to make everything good a part of ourselves - the thought dropped from a friend, the strong work in a book, the poetry, the painting, the beautiful sunrise, the lull of the lake, the rush of the city, the solitary country way, the music of the orchestra in the theatre, the witchery of the wind through the balsams, the going and coming, the actors on the stage and the actors all about us - let us make everything and anything captive if it will but make us better and stronger men and women.
Let us grow.
We may learn the lesson of confidence from the sparrow who sits in this tree at the back door waiting for his morning crumbs from the tablecloth, or the lesson of majesty from the stars in their silences.
The following pic is the homily at the end of each essay.