— I should like to lay before the members of the Club, who certainly may be said to belong to the thoughtful and thinking men and women of our land, a question that has puzzled me long and sorely.
Is it possible for us, in love or friendship, to give ourselves too much, or to give too much of ourselves, — whichever form you prefer, — especially where the other person is less responsive, either from greater natural reserve, or less depth and strength of feeling ? Too much of our hearts and souls, I mean; for I do not, refer to the kind of affection that shows itself in any personal demonstrativeness, but to that spiritual love only, which can and does exist very strongly, even between people who rarely, if ever, meet face to face. Must we always jealously reserve something, always hold Self so precious, — the Self that all our own noblest instincts, as well as all the teachings of the Christian religion, bid us “to put behind us,” — that we never dare, freely and without Stint, to give it all? Personally I am greatly inclined to agree with the noble words of a friend, who says: “Friendship, certainly, is a gift of God. And our reserves upon the subject, our fears as well, lest we may abandon ourselves too much to the influence of our friends, belong too much to the materialism in which we live.” But I have another friend, — a woman no longer young in years, though very much so in feeling, impulsive, intense, and imaginative, and something of a poet, — who has suffered keenly from unreserved abandonment of self all her life. She has had various friendships, to which she, on her side, brought all the passionate fervor of her nature; and in all these she says she knows she has “given herself too much,” for sooner or later she has invariably come to grief in them all. But there seems no remedy for it, for “thus was she made.” She cannot do anything by halves. If she gives her soul at all, she gives it wholly.
Now is there in this any sin against the Holy Ghost, that must be punished by “fierce pangs of fire”? Will some one kindly offer a solution of the problem?