You know all about the love affair I have with old books, or more to the point, authors of old books. There are few things I enjoy more than sitting around the table with men and women who are from another time. Although I can’t totally relate to period of time in which they lived, they have so much to teach me that I overlook the funny clothes – to say nothing of the hairstyles. To be fair, they must think I’m a sight, too.
I often post quotes, articles, and reflections from great authors of the past and I get a tremendous kick out of the response. There’s something remarkable about seeing an author’s teachings from the 1880’s being tweeted. Love it!
I have such a profound respect for the knowledge that these authors possess that I’m going to start a weekly tradition on Self Help Daily called, Thursday Throwback. Each Thursday, I will post a “guest article” from one of these authors. Why should their wonderful, rich knowledge lie in a dusty book in a dark basement? It should be brought out into the open and these amazing authors should be given an opportunity to educate, enlighten, and entertain generations of people who, like me, would look downright freaky to them. In spite of our looks, they’d want to reach out to us.
In my very small way, I’d love to give them this chance.
We’ll start with a great article by Isabel Leighton. Isabel Leighton was a journalist, actress, and writer. She began her career in the theater, appearing in several Broadway productions in the early 1920’s. In the 1930’s and 40’s she wrote for various magazines as well as for the North American Newspaper Alliance.
She also served as a naval correspondent in World War II. Can you imagine how fascinating it would have been to sit down and have a cup of coffee with this lady?
Below is an article Isabel Leighton wrote titled, “Meet Trouble as a Friend.”
MEET TROUBLE AS A FRIEND
by Isabel Leighton
“Trouble makes us one with every human being in the world.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
A little more than twenty years ago I spent a treasured afternoon with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes at his Beverly Farms home just north of Boston. Lingering on the threshold as I took my leave, I asked if I might publish some of the typically rugged, earthy observations he had made during our tea together.
With a firmness that belied the gentle smile dancing at the corners of his mouth he replied, “In my more than ninety years I have never allowed myself to be quoted, nor will I revise my pattern at this late date. But write your interview, child, and if, after twenty years from my going, anything I’ve said still seems to serve a useful purpose, it is yours to do with as you wish.”
During those hours, two decades ago, we spoke of many things: the granite on which he built his home – and his life; the barberry bushes he never tired of seeing from his windows; the mystery stories he devoured; and, finally, more dismal matters. Was he not deeply concerned, I asked, over the depression, threats of war and the lack of security in the world? He shook his head indulgently.
“Oh, you young people, you think you’ve discovered trouble. If you want to live without trouble, you’ll have to die young! For if one thing’s sure, it’s that it’s always been with us and always will be.”
“Terrifying, you think? Rubbish,” he chuckled, “it’s never fazed me. Been almost grateful for it at times. Makes us one with every human being in the world – and unless we touch others, we’re out of touch with life. You might as well be dead as stop growing and if you’re unwilling to feel, yes, feel deeply, you’re only half alive.
“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I wouldn’t pass it around. Wouldn’t be doing anybody a favor. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t say embrace trouble. That’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.
“No, trouble isn’t the scourge of the world. The world has its ups and downs. So have people, and all the speechifying that breath can produce won’t change things or make the millennium come an hour sooner. You can’t run away from trouble.”
He smiled now more benignly, “Accept it. Don’t worry about it. Have faith – and do the needful.”
Have faith and do the needful. In one sentence, Oliver Wendell Holmes gave a perfect example of why Thursday Throwback is long overdue. Blunt, to the point, and powerful.
Mr. Holmes could have been quite the tweeter. Stop #panicking. Have faith & do the needful.