G.K. Chesterton once said that “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead…Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.”
To honor that sentiment and to stave off an easy chronological snobbery, Friday’s posts come straight from the mouths (or pens) of men and women who have died in the faith.
“I can’t help it,” said Ruby pitifully. “Even if what you say about heaven is true – and you can’t be sure – it may be only that imagination of yours – it won’t be just the same. It can’t be. I want to go on living here. I’m so young, Anne. I haven’t had my life. I’ve fought so hard to live – and it isn’t any use – I have to die – and leave everything I care for.”
Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable. She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true. She was leaving everything she cared for. She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life – the things that pass – forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other – from twilight to unclouded day. God would take care of her there – Anne believed – she would learn – but now it was no wonder her soul clung, in blind helplessness, to the only things she knew and loved…
Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her.
Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. On the surface, it would go on jut the same; but the deeps had been stirred. It must not be with her as with poor butterfly Ruby.
When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different – something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her.
The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.