The Gospel of Uses
1. THE home should be regarded as a most important factor in national life, and home-making as a sacred and distinguished trust in which all are alike vitally responsible.
2. Since “the hand that rocks the cradle . . . rules the world,” why should ambition look farther for a mighty opportunity?
3. To you who are homemakers it is given to make or break the destinies of nations, since out of your homes proceeds the quality of your nation. Would you have a country ruled by love and justice? Then establish such rule in your own home. Anarchy and strife, war and bloodshed are but the outcome of inharmonious and unhappy homes.
4. Blessed indeed is he whose life breathes forth the harmony of a happy home. There is nothing to fear from such a one. The soul of our nation will be delivered from the “spoilers” when homes like these are in the majority. Channing might have had such a possibility in mind when he referred to “Home, the nursery of the infinite.”
5. Could homemakers, then, ask for a greater field in which to express their aspiration and desires, to do and accomplish something great and good? Why beat your restless ambition against the bars of worry and drudgery when the opportunity and material are given you out of which to construct governments and nations that shall rise and call you blessed?
6. We all think that if we had certain things or were in a certain environment we would be happy. It is our privilege to have these things in order and in abundance, and it is our privilege to have the ideal environment. We have the things and the environment now; it is the use of the present possessions and the present surroundings that makes the difference between the opulent, happy life and the poor, wretched existence.
7. The ideal is not attained by looking afar; it is developed by a daily use of the privileges that are at hand. “Thy ideal is in thyself; thy impediment, too, is in thyself.” The ideal is the thing that would satisfy the longing; the impediment is the habit of looking to the beyond for what the present offers.
8. In every home a certain amount of force is employed, sufficient to set and keep the household in harmony; it is able to bring into the home the things necessary for the welfare of each member of the family. The union of harmony with supply insures the ideal condition.
9. We must learn to use aright the power that brings what we want. Temper is power going in the wrong direction; worry and fret are exhausting misuse of the energy that should be applied to household duties. All friction in the home results from using the forces of the home along wrong lines. This is particularly true of irritability in children, who often in this way reflect the discords of others.
10. There is such a world of blessings at our command that our most important lesson is to know how to apply them. It is not the things that we have or that we think we need, but how we use them that tells in the life. Lying at hand, in every household, are all things necessary for the needs of the day. Adaptability will bring forth wonders. Instead of praying for more, let us ask for wisdom to use what we already have. We shall find that we are now much richer in all ways than we had thought.
11. Many of the irksome cares of the mother can be lessened, and finally transformed into delights. The little ones who have demanded so much in the way of attention, care, and amusement can be directed into ways of helpfulness to the mother and self-sufficiency in their own lives. It is just as amusing to the little girl to play at the game of putting the room in order as it is for her to sit by the hour engaged in some objectless entertainment. It gives the boy the right start to the right sort of manhood to know that he is able to use his strength in helping others. The little folk can, through wisdom and tact, be taught how to perform helpful acts to one another that will save the mother many a step. This method will also reduce the possibility of disagreements to a minimum. Where peace is, there is no loss of strength through mental strain. The energy that is wasted through friction in many homes is sufficient to do all the work of the household.
12. “But,” you may object, “one cannot do all this alone, and I do not have the support of the other members of the family. Oh, if my dear one only believed in this beautiful Truth, how happy we could be!” Now, remember that if God has given you a light that your dear ones do not care to walk by, He has given it to you that you may make it so clear, so all-revealing, that it will become an illumination in the home. Not by throwing affirmations at the family, not by preaching, not through the assumption of superiority, do you recommend the higher thing. Do the thing and the thing will testify of itself.
13. One in a household can inaugurate all good, just by beginning and keeping it up. Pour in the oil of joy and the strength of wisdom. Utilize the blessings. Keep asking for wisdom and go on exercising what you have. Live the joy of your new ideals in order that you may recommend them to the others in the home. Everything will fall into line, because right is the power that adjusts all forces, and one faithful member of a family can and will redeem a whole home. One joyful presence in a home will drive out every grumble. One peaceful presence will clear the house of discord. One presence of content will banish the specter of unrest. “For unto everyone that hath shall be given.” To the one who has joy shall be added joy; to the one who has peace shall be added peace.
14. It is joy to realize that there is a panacea for every ill that enters the home circle; and that every homemaker may hold the key that locks her doors against discord and disease. By recognizing Spirit as the source and origin of all, we may deal successfully with our problems and demonstrate harmony in the home.
15. Every home takes on the quality of the prevailing thought held in it; this being true, it is up to the mistress, whose thought and touch are part and parcel of the home, to look well to the manner of her thinking.
16. Since thoughts are things, give to your thought the quality of substance that shall embody the divine idea for which home and its furnishings stand. This is what has been called “spiritual housekeeping,” and it is our privilege to carry it into all the details of the home. In the preparation of food, the mother is given the blessed opportunity of transmuting it into the very bread of heaven through her loving thought and willing service.
17. There can be no such thing as drudgery when housework is considered as an opportunity to make manifest some new good to her household.
18. You can even glorify washday by putting into it the idea of purification, so that not only the family linen comes forth clean and spotless but family affairs are made to share this weekly ablution, through the cleansing thoughts that have wrought along with the busy hand.
19. So each day, duty may become a joy for her who carries along with her work the idea of its spiritual significance, by keeping her thought busied with the substance while her hand deals with the symbol.
20. Ironing day suggests smoothing out mental worries and creasing cares. Cleaning day and baking day have also their inner significance which will be make clear to her who seeks to carry on her spiritual housekeeping along with the work of her hands.
21. To deal with things divested of the vitalizing ideas back of them is feeding on husks, and productive of the weariness and discontent experienced by those who work solely in the external.
22. Our minds must have scope and thought substance. Our soul power is starved out through material methods; a knowledge of the all-providing substance of Spirit must be ours before we are liberated from our bondage to material conditions.
23. Bear this statement in mind; it will help you to realization:
The all-providing substance of Spirit is everywhere present. I mold it with my thoughts and make it tangible with my faith.
24. Now let us start anew, knowing that the Father has given into our keeping all the possibilities that understanding grasps. Our blessings are so great and so many that there is no emptiness anywhere in us. If we wish to do noble things we can do them where we are; if we wish to become great we have the opportunity to do great deeds just where we are. Living the good, using the good, knowing the power of the good to make itself supreme, will transform every home—no matter what the conditions may be—into a home of righteousness, plenty, and joy.
25. We can never get into better conditions by simply running away from present surroundings. The present environment corresponds to the present state of soul development, and we only postpone the adjustment by trying to get away. Now is the time to begin the work of bringing harmony out of discord, and the wish for a better condition is the soul’s prophecy of its own good coming into appearance through its own faithful endeavors. The kingdom of heaven is within, and it is only through bringing its unfailing law of love to act upon every situation that we shall establish its peace in our surroundings.