I believe that the two great Commandments, which tell us to love God and our neighbor, are inseparable. The longer I live, the clearer is my conviction that as my love of God increases, so does my love for my fellow man. I feel sure that I cannot love or be seriously concerned about the welfare of others without my love of God being strengthened, enriched, and deepened.
In my Girl Scout work during the last twenty years I have found that this belief has been both a great help and a joy to me. As I have traveled many thousands of miles in this country and in foreign lands, I have made friends with many people of various colors, creeds, social and economic backgrounds. They are my neighbors. Our differences have seemed superficial and our likenesses have been important.
On a recent trip around the world, my husband and I were welcomed by many people of races different from ours. Among them were Japanese, Filipinos, Indians, and Pakistani. Each of them was an individual trying in his or her way to make the world a better place in which to live. Our lives have been enriched by knowing them.
To love my neighbor has been like casting bread upon the waters, but many times His regard and love for me have been returned to me out of all proportion to my efforts in His behalf. Of course this is not always so, but the satisfactions far outweigh the disappointments, and so I keep trying. Striving to love God and my fellow man has led me to a strong belief that people are growing constantly better—and this I believe in spite of the frightful events taking place in the world today. More and more people are trying to live by the two great Commandments, and while we fall far short of our goal, our progress is slowly upward.
As a small child I was taught by my parents that every privilege brings responsibility, and this belief has had a strong influence on the pattern of my life. My privileges have been legion, so I have acquired many responsibilities. Trying to carry them out has made my life not only a very busy one, but a very happy one. I have discovered that like the two great Commandments, privileges and responsibilities are so closely related that not only do the latter increase with the former, but vice verse. Many of the greatest privileges I have enjoyed have come as the direct result of carrying out responsibilities.
Long ago I found out that I could accomplish nothing good without God’s help. It is sometimes hard to find much time for formal prayer, but I can always talk with God. When I am busy with housework, driving along the road or walking down the street, it is easy to talk with Him and ask His guidance. The answers to these simple requests are frequently not what I want, but always what I need.
I believe that each one of us has a part to play in this life, and whether our field be large or small, how we play that part will have far reaching influence. I like to think that by playing my role to the best of my ability, I may be able to say, with the writer whose name is unknown to me: “With the time that I had and the strength that I had, I have done what I could. When the pyramid is finished, my grain of sand will part of it.”