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26. The Mother's Heart

The Mother's Heart

The Mother's Heart

IF children could realize how indifference and disrespect to parents wound the heart, they would never offend in that way. "Honor thy father and thy mother," is one of the first commands, and was intended to be obeyed as much as any other. When one of God's commands is disobeyed, a penalty is sure to follow, whether the transgressor realizes the cause or not. It may be that every disappointment, loss, sickness or affliction is a penalty merci- fully appointed to pay the debt here instead of here-after. If so, what a load we would carry with us into the next life to our great shame and hindrance if we do not expiate, in part, our faults while here.

If a person should make you a costly present, you would entertain the most pleasant feelings toward that one; your countenance would brighten and your step hasten to do some kindness in return, and this you would perhaps consider almost nothing in comparison. Yet, to those who gave you the first smile and welcome, shelter, food and clothing, loving care and teaching, do you respond as willingly ? If so, how sweet must be the thought ; if not, there will be much to regret some day.

If you were making some beautiful article for yourself, your time and materials being limited, and you should mar your workmanship beyond repairing, how sorrowful you would be ; but the spirit and the record you are moulding are what money cannot create or replace; neither can time efface from the faithful records of the heart, the vivid picture of a misused opportunity, an injured work of the soul. There is some consolation in the knowledge that repentance cancels part of the offense, if not its result; but the heart that never repents or seeks to amend its wrongs, the heart that fosters ingratitude, is cultivating an element that will at last destroy every bright attribute and hope.

Let me tell you a story or two from life to show you the tenderness of a mother's heart, its long, enduring love.

A woman past sixty years of age, a tailoress, lived near me. She had sons and grandchildren, and was very kind to them all, constantly helping to provide for the families, and even now and then lending some poor man or woman a sum of money to start business with; always cheerful and hopeful in her ways, and never idle. Early and late her sewing-machine was hurrying, and some persons hinted that she must have riches hoarded up. One day a young woman entered the shop, and the tailoress looking at the baby she carried in her arms, the baby responded with a coo and a spring toward her. "What do you think of my baby ? Just take her a minute," said the young mother. The gray-haired woman drew back, and a strange look came over her face. "I have never held a girl-baby in my arms since my own little girl died I cannot! " said she. "How long ago was that?" tenderly asked the young mother. "Thirty years," answered the poor woman, and the tears came so fast she had to wipe them away, and the rest of us had to wipe our eyes too. Long as we had known her, we had never had a thought that a secret, beautiful and sacred sorrow was hidden in her heart, but I know that ever afterward we who were in her shop that afternoon always spoke with tenderness to the poor old woman, as though we were partners in her sorrow.

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