Signs of the Times

["Between the Lines" by Lilian Lauferty, in Harper's Magazine, New york, N. Y., January, 1924]

Whatever of tragedy and hopelessness my day's mail has been revealing for ten years, it has also revealed so much of love, of gratitude, of generosity, of tenderness, of eager groping, of fine ambition, of fierce yearning to do right, and of glorious power to "come back" from degradation and crime, that the bitterest misanthrope would find himself awed and humbled, if he could be permitted to read those human documents. The longer I pore over my letters the more I believe in humanity—its basic honesty, courage, fineness, and nobility; but I do not believe in the mist of lies with which we have let our fears veil our potentiality—our reality. "Our common problem,—yours, mine, every one's" has been voiced so simply and completely by Arthur Christopher Benson that I have come to feel almost as if his words are my thoughts made vocal when he says: "There is one step of supreme importance from which a man must not shrink, however difficult it may seem to be; and that is to search and probe the depths of his own soul that he may find out what it is that he really and deeply and whole-heartedly and instinctively loves and admires and desires... There is always a direct and inner revelation from God to every individual ...; and strange as it may appear, this is not always easy to discern because of the influences, the ideas, the surroundings that have been always at work upon us, molding us... from our earliest days..." Folks are folks; they emerge gently and cloudily from their own generalities; their revelation is mere background. No social-service worker can afford to be literal-minded; every social-service worker must be impelled by the love that is the fulfilling of the law. If we of the newspaper columns help in some small degree to discover that "true life" so obscured by living, have we not eluded the fakir heritage of Delphi and worked our way into the social-service class? So as I try to discover the real man between the lines of my letters, I come to believe that behind the seven veils of silence and mystery with which we veil ourselves, lies the true humanity, the humanity we must all strive lovingly to free.

March 1, 1924

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.