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THE HAPPY LANDS OF SERVICE
“Even as the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”
ENNYSON, in his “ Lotus-Eaters," and his
“Ulysses,” has given two thrilling, yet con
trasted pictures of the land of happiness. In the first, he is telling of those battle-worn heroes who had suffered much on the windy plains of Troy. They were on their way home, to their distant realms beyond the sea. Varied experiences came to them. They barely escaped with their lives from the cave of the one-eyed Cyclops, some of them had been turned to swine by the enchantress Circe. They had been lured almost to destruction on the rock-bound coast by the singing of the Sirens, the whirlpools of Scylla and Charbydis had almost wrecked them. At length,
“In the afternoon, they came unto a land
In this charmed land, of the Lotus-Eaters, they thought they had reached the true happy land,
They lay them down upon the yellow sand,
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
In “ Ulysses ” is a nobler and truer finding of the land of happiness. The strong old warrior has found his way to his Ithacan home, but he is not satisfied to dwell with luxurious ease. Even in his old age, he summons his companions of the old struggle to sail beyond the sunset, and to touch the Happy Isles and see the great Achilles. And though their strength may not be what it was, nevertheless, with heroic hearts and strong will, they consecrate themselves “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
We affirm that not dwellers in the land of the Lotus-Eaters, but Ulysses, ever pushing forward to new adventure, to new struggle, to new service, found the true happy land.
Rotarians have taken it as their great purpose to achieve the conquest of the happy land of service. Because some do not know, I would tell it, that Rotary is an association of enterprising men from every business and profession, who find their one bond of interest in fulfilling the truth of the motto, “ He profits most, who serves best.”
Rotary has found the happy land of service in various goodhearted ministries. To the Children's Hospital, to the giving of a good time to the poor at Christmas,
Rotary is always in active commission. The Y. M. C. A., the Red Cross, Liberty Bonds, and every possible call of need has been ministered to by Rotary's heeding of the call to service. It was the Rotary Club that went over the top ” in making good San Francisco's pledge to the government, whereby Camp Fremont was made possible. At the Presbyterian Camp Side Church, where basket ball courses are splendidly established, is also to be found an attractively furnished library of a thousand volumes, of the literature that appeals to the interest and imagination of the normal man. The San Francisco Rotary Club placed that library there because it wanted to be of service to the boys in our army. Yesterday, three thousand kiddies were given a treat, by Cressy at the Orpheum, because of the interested activity of the Rotary Club. The Smileage Campaign for placing a book of tickets in the hands of every soldier, whereby he will be enabled to visit the wholesome entertainments under the direction of the government War Camp Activities Committee, was pushed to a successful conclusion by the Rotary Club. One never saw more instant nor generous response than Rotary always gives to every call of service.
This land of service which Rotary has marked out, is a happy land, because it exalts unselfishness. The quest of happiness never was brought to a successful conclusion by the direct seeking. True happiness comes through the seeking of some one's else happiness. This is a peculiar but true attribute of the psychology of the human spirit. Nine-tenths of the unhappiness in this world is rooted and grounded in selfishness. Discontented husbands and wives would soon find the winter of their discontent passing into the joys of June, if they would but practice thinking of the other's happiness. Rich development of spiritual power comes through this same unselfish goal. When General Booth of the Salvation Army was in his old age, and could not attend a great meeting in a distant land, of an organization whose inspiration he was, he cabled a message of greeting It was a single word, “Others,” but it contained the whole gospel of unselfishness which enabled him to girdle the world in service.
The land of service which Rotary has marked out, is a happy land, because it touches the heart. Heart power is the power that rules the world. Intellect may clear the road, conscience may point the way, but the dynamo of the heart must be touched before the human engine moves to the accomplishment of a great end. Henry Drummond was not speaking an idle word when he said, “ Love is the greatest thing in the world.” George W. Cable, in one of his Creole stories, makes the ecstatic character exclaim, over the humming bird, “He is but one drop, but he is all passion.” Service touches the heart because it is the heart in action.
The land of service which Rotary has marked out, is a happy land because it is right. Men spend their lives trying to denature conscience, but there is no joy quite equal to the good content that comes from an approving conscience, and conscience always approves the deed of service that was rendered in another's behalf. One has well expressed
THE CREED OF A ROTARIAN
That those who live in and for the joy of serving are far richer than those who are served.
God bless our mothers. I believe
That those who serve and sacrifice without the hope of profit or reward are the most commendable servants of mankind and civilization.
God bless the boys in the army and navy. I believe
That a token of human kindness in the pathway of the deserving will merit a greater reward than flowers strewn upon a grave.
God bless the nurses and keep them from harm.
That the future holds its punishment or reward for the
arrow of understanding. I believe
That America will solve the greatest problem of history,
give to them power and wisdom.
But service is something more than sentiment. It rests on a deep-lying principle. To do an impulsive deed of service on haphazard occasions will never suffice for achieving entire satisfaction, or for reaching the land of happiness. Service to come into its own must be the ideal of life. It must be exempli