This excerpt is taken from the lovely book True Womanhood by Rev. Bernard O’Reilly written in the early part of the 1900’s. Its timeless truths continue to inspire us to continue the good fight….that our job is not worthless, but worthy of great esteem. Each battle we overcome, each time we lay our own wills down for the good of those around us, we are slowly building the foundation of our home on Him who is the Rock and Who will protect and guide those within our four walls!
Woman’s entire existence, in order to be a source of happiness to others as well as to herself, must be one of self-sacrifice.
The first step in this royal pathway to all goodness and greatness is to forget self. Self with its miserable little cares and affections is the root of all the wretchedness we cause to others, and all the misery we endure ourselves.
Every effort we make to forget self, to leave self behind us, and to devote ourselves to the labor of making every person with whom we are bound to live, happy, is rewarded by interior satisfaction and joy.
The supreme effort of goodness is,—not alone to do good to others; that is its first and lower effect,—but to make others good. So with unselfishness: the first step is to forget one’s own comfort in order to seek that of others; the next is to forget one’s own pains and suffering, in order to alleviate those of others, or even to discharge toward others the duties of sisterly or neighborly kindness.
We have known such great-souled women among the log-cabins of the forest settlements of Canada, in the crowded tenement houses and most ill-favored quarters of London and Liverpool and New York, as well as in the hard worked manufacturing population of the New-England towns and the poor slaves of Maryland: women animated, enlightened, and moved in all their actions by the Spirit of God,—the Spirit who filled Mary at Nazareth, Elizabeth in her mountain home, and Margaret of Scotland amid the manifold cares and duties of a kingdom.
What our country,—indeed, what every Christian country under the sun,—needs most, are these great-souled wives, mothers, and sisters in the dwellings of our over-burdened laborers; women for whom the roof above them and the four walls which enclose their dear ones are the only world they care to know, the little paradise which they set their hearts on making pleasant, sunny, and fragrant for the husband who is out in the hot sun or the bitter cold, beneath the pelting of the rain or the snow or the sleet,— who, poorly clad and shod, with his scanty fare of hard bread and cold tea, is working away for the little home and the wife and babes,—and who is singing in his heart as he bethinks him of the warm welcome that awaits him when the long day is over,—of the bright smile and the loving words that will be sure to greet him when he crosses the threshold of his own little Eden,—of the cheerful fire in winter and the humble meal made so delicious by the love that prepares it and the sweet words that season it,—of the rest and the security and the peace which force the overflowing heart of the husband and father and brother to think and to say that there is no spot of earth so dear and so blessed as the little sanctuary built up and adorned and made full of song by a true woman’s heart.
O woman, woman! if you only knew how much you have it in your power to do,—with His assistance who can never fail us when we do our best,—to make true men of the husband of your choice, of the sons whom God has given you as his most precious treasures; true women, in their turn, of the little girls who are growing up at your knee,— to be, when you are gone to your reward, mothers blessed and praised by all who know them!