What the Objector Said

— I should be glad to hear an argument from the opposite standpoint on the duty or advisability of reserving something of ourselves for self, since it seems as if there must be something to be sald on that side of the question. My own consideration of the matter would lead me to go farther than the Questioner, and assert that it is impossible to give too much of ourselves to our friends, if the feeling which prompts the surrender be an unselfish one. May we not take this condition for our shibboleth ? In the instance cited, where the woman felt that she had “ given herself too much,” may not the real trouble have been that she did not give herself enough, — that is, that she craved too liberal a gift in return ? Some natures appear to be so constituted that in friendship they always give more than they receive, — although, if we look at it in a different light, we may say that they really receive the most, after all, — and this fact must be accepted, with many others whose raison d’être we cannot understand. But a genuine love, even if it meet with no adequate response, ought always to ennoble and enrich the soul from which it springs, provided it be given with no selfish demand for a precise equivalent. The more complete this self-surrender becomes, the greater, I believe, will be the power of entering henceforth into all other lives, in a spirit of helpful sympathy.

A friend of mine seems to have struck the keynote of the whole matter in saying : “ I have long since come to believe that the only cure for heartache, discouragement, and disappointment is to love more, not less ; to love a person, a pursuit, a cause, a country, an ideal, or a truth so much that we lose all thought of our share in either or our claim on either, and love them for the utmost possibility of good there is in them, desiring nothing in return but the joy of loving and serving them.”

Had the Contributor’s friend loved in this spirit, even though it was with her whole soul, I think she would not have “invariably come to grief ” as a result of her devotion, nor could she have felt that she had in any true sense “ given herself too much.”