Listen to episode 313 of the Inspirational Living podcast: Wisdom & Destiny. Edited and adapted from Wisdom & Destiny by Maurice Maeterlinck.
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Today’s reading was edited and adapted from Wisdom & Destiny by Maurice Maeterlinck, published in 1906.
In every age there should be some people who dare to speak, and to think, and to act as though all people were happy — for otherwise, when the day comes for destiny to throw open to all people the garden of the promised land, what happiness shall the others find there, what justice, what beauty or love?
It may be urged, it is true, that it is best, first of all, to consider our most pressing needs, yet this is not always wisest. It is often better to seek, from the start, that which is highest. When the flood waters threaten the home of a farmer in Holland, there is a pressing need to safeguard one’s own cattle and grain; but the wisest farmer races to the top of the dyke, summoning all neighbors, and thus meet the flood, and do battle.
Humanity up to now has been like an invalid tossing and turning on a couch in search of rest. And yet words of genuine consolation have come only from those who spoke as though humanity were freed from all pain. For, as we all were created for health, so were we created for happiness; and to speak of humanity’s misery only (though that misery be everywhere and seem everlasting) is only to say words that fall lightly and soon are forgotten.
Why not speak as though humankind were always on the eve of a great certitude, of a great joy? By doing so, we are led by our finest instincts, though we never may live to behold the long-wished-for tomorrow. It is well to believe, that we need but a little more thought; a little more courage, love, and devotion to life; a little more eagerness; and one day the portals of joy and of truth will be flung wide open.
Let us hope that one day all people will be happy and wise. And though this day may never dawn, to have hoped for it cannot be wrong. Regardless of what may come, it is helpful to speak of happiness to those who are perpetually gloomy — so at least they may learn what happiness means.