Saturday, February 17, 2007

Secret of Serenity

From Racket to Rest
Mr. Begbie once gave us a striking little novel entitled Racket and Rest. It is a story of two women: one of them is the wife of the hero; the other is his mother. The wife represents racket; the mother represents rest.

One Flutter of Excitement
Dolly, the wife, leaving her husband and child, pursues a hectic career upon the stage. Her life is one wild flutter of excitement. And, all through the book, the gentle old woman in the background murmurs her message of rest.

Seized by Suffering
After some years, Dolly is suddenly seized with ear trouble. An operation leaves her stone deaf. She returns, chastened by suffering, to her husband's home. His constancy is the wonder of all her days. She finds her child, Dorothea, grown into a tall and graceful girl.

Learning the Secret
Shortly afterwards the old woman lies down to die. Dolly feels that she cannot bear to let the tranquil spirit go without learning the secret of her restful and beautiful life. She begs her, since she herself cannot hear, to write it down. The dying woman, with radiant face, takes a pencil and tablet which rest on a table at her side, and scrawls the words: In returning and rest shall ye be saved: in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. That sums up everything.

Source: F W Boreham, ‘My Scallop-Shell of Quiet’, The Passing of John Broadbanks (London: The Epworth Press, 1936), 16-21.

Image: A view of this morning's unusually white sunrise over the Arabian sea.