A friend gave me a print-out of this section from a book.... I honestly don't even know the book, much less the author etc. It was a long time ago... But it was so beautiful I have been meaning and meaning to post it on my blog, so here it is. Be encouraged :)
I like to think of each day's occupation as a journey. Something to be prepared for and undertaken in a spirit of adventure, and not as a dreary trudge merely traversed as a duty because it happens to be Hobson's choice.
Although this is the day of the automobile and the aeroplane, I know that a vast number of women, including the writer, still make the day's journey on foot. And without even a tinge of envy, I believe that for those who want to see things and to understand them, Shanks' pony is still the ideal means of locomotion.
Of course, the thought of a day's journey will not appeal to those who can take world tours; and yet, whether our bodies journey far afield or only a stone's throw from home, the life of the spirit is made up of morning-till-night excursions, and therefore the little turns and bends in the road, the unlooked-for encounters and ordinary landscapes, are of importance, because they form our experience; our means of learning and excelling in the lessons God has to teach us.
We are travelling for our education, and day's journeys are not to be despised, because, as an old friend of mine said when we called on her unexpectedly: "You never know when you get up in the morning what strange thing's going to happen before you go to bed!"
I like to think that as the body wakens in the morning, throws off lethargy, tightens muscles, and feels her senses growing alert for the needs of the new day, so the Soul who inhabits that body arises, shaking herself loose from sloth, and goes first foot down the secret stairway of the being to prepare for the emergencies of the road.
But there is something the Soul must do before that. She must array herself in garments, choosing them with care, to make her comely in the eyes of all beholders, but very specially in the eyes of one Beholder. The idea that we must wear our oldest clothes when going on a journey was exploded long ago.
Nowadays we like to look our very best at all times, but I think especially when we are journeying. No one knows with whom we may meet, what we may do, or where we may go. And clothes do make a difference.
The mood we choose to get up in undoubtedly affects the tenor of the whole day. The Soul has many garments ready for wearing, and no one but herself can decide which she shall select. The Soul has this advantage over the body. She need never feel obliged to wear any ill-fitting unbecoming dress because she gave more than she meant to give for it, and it still has a lot of wear in it.
The Soul need never tell herself that the gown in which she is her comeliest, and which she would most enjoy wearing, must be kept for special occasions.
None of these wise housewifely thoughts apply to the Soul's wardrobe. In regard to this she has a distinct command and her pleasure is also her duty.
Put on thy beautiful garments, O captive daughter of Zion.
These words were spoken long generations ago to a People about to take a journey, a long and weary journey, but it was to the Land of Heart's Desire. To the soul of that nation the prophet spoke as though she had been a woman; a woman pressed down by the chains of a prison, but now set free to go the way of her heart.
I woke early one morning and was thinking of the day's journey when these words became real to me. That day was going to be a troublesome day. A journey through uncongenial country, with hills to climb and streams to cross; the kind of wayfaring which makes one very tired, and yet seems to lead to no useful junction.
To put it into plain words, Jane was on holiday, Bunty was starting for Ireland that day, and a party of friends on a motoring tour had written to say they might give us a look in about lunch-time, or it might not be till supper-time. And they might be glad to stay the night, or they might not. They could not say definitely, but would just leave it and see.
I lay in bed trying to think out what this meant. John said it need mean nothing whatever. Bunty was quite old enough to get herself and her luggage ready without a stroke of help from me. And as to the visitors, if they came, they could have bread and cheese. Why on earth did women make such a fuss over situations that were perfectly simple?
But I knew what it meant; that Bunty's room--at that moment rather chaotic--must be turned out after she had gone in case the visitors came; that beds must be made up and that sufficient food must be prepared.
In fact a very busy day indeed was before my young Emily and me. My own writing, always inclined to be in arrears, must be put aside and caught up with afterwards as best it could. And nobody would be any the better for all the wear and tear I had to face, for nobody would realize that any wear and tear was attached to just having three or four motorists for one night. Especially as they might not come.
Then to me the word of the Lord came: Awake, awake, put on they beautiful garments, O captive daughter of Zion.
And I saw with the eyes of my understanding that every woman who hungers and thirsts for righteousness is a daughter of Zion. For Zion means City of God, and is another name for Jerusalem. Jerusalem with her chequered history is a picture of a woman's inner life. She is "the mother of us all" and we storm-racked and temperament-driven creatures of the twentieth century are her daughters.
I saw that. And then I saw, too, that putting on beautiful garments meant something more than making the best of a tiresome situation. It meant the inner self being graceful over it and not down-at-heel. But, oh! (I thought) how am I to get like that, and to keep like that, when truly my temper is feeling much tattered and torn?
Why is it that after all these years I still hate to be shifted out of my "course"? If I had been a horse I am afraid I should have been the sort which chafes when it feels a hand upon the reins, the sort of horse which will suddenly fling up its head and bolt.
I thought back to the days when times were far more difficult. I was younger then and stronger than I am now, but burdens were heavier and circumstances inexorable. Yet, day after day the journey was undertaken, night after night found one weary, but still alive to tell the tale.
I thought, too, of days more recent when the extent of the "journey" was only from the bed against the wall to the settee in the window. And even then--as those who must make that sort of wayfaring will testify--there were little helps by the way; baken cakes and water-cruses, which kept the journey from being "too great."
And as I lay thinking and reasoning--for God does still reason with His people--I saw that this day's journey was only another form of the old lesson that seems to be taking me all my life to learn. The lesson of accepting each moment as it comes, believing that God who plans the ages is mindful of the smallest detail in the lives of men. Because "His folk are we all."
A living soul is meant to be not only a pathfinder, but also a trail-blazer--and the finding and the blazing is never done once and for ever. It is a slow and continuous process, for paths have a way of grassing over, and trails often need rekindling if the road is to be kept open for God to travel on it. For that, if we only could realize it, is the reason and the meaning of all our wayfaring.
God sends us journeying so that each day's mileage may become a highway for His feet. In us, and through us, as we live our ordinary lives, the great Road Planner looks for a way by which He can bring His own transports. Years pass sometimes before we see how the roads link up with one another, merging at last into the one Road which leads to the City Celestial.
This new day (I thought), this very hour of my soul's waking has been born out of eternity; tonight when I lie down again it will have returned whither it came. Not a single moment of it is my own property. It is only lent to me to use, as I might use a field-path without in any sense becoming its owner.
And this being so, who am I that I should say: "This thing or that thing is my lifework," when really my "life-work" is to get on with whasoever my hand findeth to do?
"When little has been done by me, much may have been done in me," is what Francis Thompson said when the pressure of ordinary life seemed to hinder him. By which I think he meant that no day is lost if in it the Soul has received the faintest glimmer of Things as they Are.
A look at the clock made me step out of bed and begin to dress. The day's journey had still to be traveled, but the burdensome quality of it did not weigh heavily now, because it was adjusted and swung harmoniously. Moving to rhythm is a grand secret.
One charlady of mine knew that secret. When she swept, the broom became a young lithe dancing partner; when she washed a blanket, her arms fell into a metrical swing, so different from the feverish rub-here-and-there of the unskilled. My charlady never seemed hurried, yet the amount of work she did in a day was amazing. I thought of her as this day wore on. Just an ordinary day which thousands of women would have tackled without turning a hair.
After the usual last-minute stampede, Bunty left. The guests did not arrive till tea-time and could not stay the night. When John and I had waved our farewells, he turned to me and said:
"There! What did I tell you? There was no need for half the things you have done. I never saw such a woman!"
And I replied quite truthfully:
"No, nor did I."