In part one of this series I provided commentary on some of the great many things that this American female journalist (1913-1983) said. Here are some more with my commentary:
“Many are saved from sin by being so inept at it.”
Is this a comment on how pure some people are or is it about how incompetent some people are? Either way it’s quite an incredulous statement that many could or would dispute the veracity of. Nevertheless, it’s intriguing and thought-provoking.
“No matter how brilliantly an idea is stated, we will not really be moved unless we have already half thought of it ourselves.”
This is a great humbling truth. We have to be convinced of things ourselves before they get any airplay otherwise. Cognisance of this is helpful, however, so as team players we might remind ourselves every now and then, particularly at the right time--to be open-minded to the submission of our stubbornness.
“Society honors its living conformists and its dead troublemakers.”
This is bad news for those who wish for fame in this life through their infamy. If only we’d recognise the truth to the former part of the statement more. Living in conformity is blessed, yet we struggle with the simplicity of this in our practical living much of the time.
“There are a handful of people whom money won't spoil, and we all count ourselves among them.”
Money spoils everyone potentially. How many times do we hear people say, ‘Oh, for the Lotto life,’ and we think it could be to their ruination. It’s true, a lot of money ruins people in a surprising number of situations.
We can fool ourselves, can’t we? Good friends, however, provide us much needed balance in their advice, if we’re good enough to listen. “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” –Proverbs 27:5-6 (TNIV).
“We all become great explorers during our first few days in a new city, or a new love affair.”
This is probably aimed at those deciding on infidelity... a foolish choice anytime.
The overall point is we stop exploring. Why not continue the exploration in marriage, in life? This is the hard thing, isn’t it? Over the longer term we wane, our energy tends to dissipate. We rarely see the lack of work ethic in our marriages, or in life, as a problem. And we rarely do anything about it.
But, each day can be as fresh as the first, but it depends on our approach and focus.
“What you can't get out of, get into wholeheartedly.”
This is a classic trick of awareness first, and then secondly of the will of the mind. We exercise our choice when we choose to live this way. And our enthusiasm in these trying circumstances is often infectious and a cause for inspiration to others.
“We would all like a reputation for generosity and we'd all like to buy it cheap.”
This is a chief paradox. The truth is stinginess is characteristic to our human nature. We only realise it when we occasionally surprise ourselves by going against what we’d normally do, when we give in true generosity i.e. on instinct, without much thought. Generosity, like a good many things, can become a habit.
“What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.”
It’s funny how quickly our needs change. We look back to two months ago and what do we see? Often things we priced too highly at the time. 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing. We also define ourselves by what we want and don’t want, and the price we’re prepared to pay for both.
“When suffering comes, we yearn for some sign from God, forgetting we have just had one.”
This is a great bolt of truth right here. The main thing with suffering is we’re put in direct contact and channel with God--he’s there in the midst of it. Suffering is often a consequence of ours or others’ lack of obedience to God’s holy code i.e. sin. Even when it isn’t (depending on our perception), there’s no surer sign of God’s presence (and role) than in suffering.
“Youth is not enough. And love is not enough. And success is not enough. And, if we could achieve it, enough would not be enough.”
Proverbs 30:15b-16 (NIV) says,
“There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’”I used to rationalise my addictive personality and behaviour cheekily by saying, ‘Too much is never enough,’ and the sad thing is our Western lives are defined by a lack or loss of self-control by and large.
Mignon McLaughlin was a secular figure of note in the 20th Century. I’m glad to be edified spiritually by her wisdom; the wisdom of the Ages.
Of course, none of it is original to McLaughlin herself. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire from sight and afterwards return again.”
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.