SONS of GOD
The Offering of a Broken Heart
I arose from that defiled bed after that first night completely refreshed. I felt as though I had been bathed in dew and dried with rose petals. I was tingling with breathless anticipation. The very air throbbed with an alert eagerness. I was not an adventuress, but certainly was on my greatest adventure. The atmosphere was pregnant with promise. I felt as though I was being borne along on wings of light.
At the very first place I went I received employment. It was only a filing clerk job, but it would keep me until I found my bearings, or knew why I had been brought to Los Angeles.
Yes, that job would keep me, if only I could keep it. How I was going to live on one dollar and a half for two full weeks, not to mention room rent for the second week, was still unsolved. Yet the strangest part of the whole situation was that I felt perfectly at ease. I felt as though I had not a care in the world. I had no misgivings and no fears.
Perhaps the lesson I had learned before arriving in Yuma had helped to prepare me to meet startling circumstances without fear. At least the pledge I had given in the desert was something I could not go back on. That pledge had been woven out of the very fibres of my life and could not be put aside. I had pledged myself never to complain at anything, no matter what happened, or didn’t happen. I had dedicated my life with a very solemn promise that I could not break.
And then I learned something very important. I learned that every lesson received must needs be followed by a test, for it is only as we pass the tests that destiny is satisfied.
I had made a pledge. Would I keep it? How sincere was I in my oath of dedication. I knew then, with a sure knowing, that unless I abided by my covenant I could not be trusted, nor could I be permitted to go on to greater heights — greater lessons — greater tests, perhaps. From somewhere I seemed to recall a phrase: “He must be tested and tried in all things.” I had no idea where I had heard it, or even if I had ever actually heard it. But the thought took hold and added a meaning to the miserable room I occupied. Then for some inexplicable reason I hoped those tests would come fast and furious. Perhaps I was hoping to take in the whole gigantic life-time of living in one tremendous gulp. I didn’t stop to realize that medicine given in small doses can be very helpful, but taken by the bottleful can be very deadly.
I was consciously aware of my promise to “be thankful in all things — whatever came.” And the pledge never to complain again.
It was a big order I had cut out for myself. Now I had to make good on it. If I were to die I would live to the very last moment, with the very last breath, and the last flicker of intelligence, fully, intensively, completely, and gratefully — if possible. No more half-dead, whimpering existence for me. If I were meant to starve I was determined to enjoy starving. I would analyze it — every murderous pang of it. I would check its every action, and live above my reactions. I would observe the process with as much detachment as any modern scientist in his painstaking research. And when it was finished I would fully comprehend the experience to its last flickering pulse-beat. If I were to die of cancer, I, again, would understand it thoroughly before I finished with it — or rather it finished me. I was going to learn to feel with an alert intensity of feeling that would demand of every experience everything it could possibly offer. I was determined to comprehend every minutest happening in my life — to live every vital breath to its fullest capacity. No moment was ever going to pass me by without yielding a measure of tribute.
Ronnie’s going had taught me to gather the intense, exquisite torture of heartbreak and sorrow into the sacred crucible of my heart, and there to learn to triumph over them. It was that very experience of heartbreak that had equipped me for living. Ronnie had always had that inner equipment. I had had to begin to develop it by sheer will power and stupendous courage.
It would have been so much easier to have continued wallowing in my self-pity — to have gone on weeping over myself in my grim misfortune as other men were returning to their wives and sweethearts. I could have gone on in my bitterness, growing more hard and ugly in my blind resentment as I developed an intense hatred against life and destiny because I could have talked myself into believing that I alone was called to suffer — that none had ever suffered as I suffered. I could have dried up in my soul and wallowed in my deep, stifling self-pity — that is — if Ronnie had not been Ronnie. I get all weak and trembly even now, when I realize how very near I came to failing — and probably would have, but for the grace of God.
Those who claim to have suffered more than anyone else has ever suffered have not yet learned the meaning of suffering. Whatever they have been called to endure has borne no fruits, been as wasted, as barren, as empty and void and meaningless as the tragic ordeal of giving birth to a still-born child, for the experience remains unglorified. All suffering, great or small, like the crucifixion, was meant to be transmuted into living, everlasting glory. It can be. Even being the mother of a still-born child can bring a benediction of such hallowed purification of soul, such infinite tenderness and understanding with it, that the experience can open wide the very portals of continued advancement. It is when man realizes the purpose of suffering and utilizes its power that all suffering will end. It will be then that man will come into his full dominion and have complete power to subdue the earth and all things and all conditions upon it. It will be then that the glorious privilege of suffering, the divine power of it, the sacred, breath-taking essence and wonder of it will be revealed. I find myself awed and overwhelmed by the unutterable glory of its hidden power. Any suffering, any pain, disappointment, heartbreak or even fear, when accepted with the true prayer of: “Thy will be done” can be instantly transmuted into unlimited power.
Yea, “come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Give me your burdens) “and take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
And: “The only sacrifice acceptable henceforth is the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
As the broken heart, the sorrow, the pain, the suffering, the burden of any mortal experience is offered to Him with the sincere prayer of: “Thy will be done” — and I mean offered without reservation, but with a complete letting go, the sacrificed burden can be exchanged for the yoke of love and a burden of complete enfolding light and glory and happiness and eternal power — power to overcome all things. This is the power of true dominion in all its divine majesty.
Perhaps because of Ronnie’s greatness I had been touched with that awakening vision and made to realize that I was mourning over myself, Christine Mercie. It was not Ronnie I was weeping for, really. As I awoke to my miserable, groveling selfishness I was ashamed. Deeply ashamed.
It was such sorrows as these that had made Ronnie great. Every difficulty of his life had been made to yield its sacred essence and had become a building block in the structure of his soul.
How could I grieve over my lot with such knowledge? How could any outside condition leave me complaining with dismay? God had touched my understanding, and in that touch I was bequeathed a greater responsibility.
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