A Better Way

From the October 1912 issue of The Christian Science Journal by

A woman was given a candle,
And she hid it away on the shelf.
It is all I have, she murmured,
And hardly enough for myself,
So I must not let any one see it,
But all through the coming night
I’ll know it is ready and waiting,
In case I should need the light.

She stole through the empty chambers
To her own little cheerless room.
How dark it has grown! she shivered,
As she groped her way through the gloom.
I wish I could light my candle!
But she tried to be only glad
She had put it away so safely
Because it was all she had.

Another was given a candle,
And she stepped out into the night.
It is all I have, she murmured,
I must make the most of its light.

There are hearts that are breaking,—somewhere,
There are lives that are sad and drear;
I must hurry along with my candle,
To let them know it is here.

O’er valley and hill she wandered,
With that one little flickering flame,
And it brightened many a pathway
That was dark until she came.
It crept into desolate places,
It banished disease and sin,
And hands, outstretched, were waiting
To welcome the stranger in.

Two women met in the morning,
As the eastern skies grew red.
One came from her happy journey,
One came from her sleepless bed.
Each held in her hand a candle,
But the eyes of one were sad:
I could not light it, my sister,
Because it was all I had.

The other one made no answer,
But her face, in the sunrise glow,
Looked like the face of an angel,
And she only whispered low:
O Love divine, I thank Thee!
For she saw, now the night was done,
She had lighted a thousand candles
From that poor little flickering one.

A bird sang softly near them,
And it heard the sad one say:
No wonder she looks so happy!
Hers was the better way.
Not mine, said the other, smiling,
As she touched the drooping head;
It was not my way, my sister,
But the Father’s way, she said.

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