The Stream of Life

February 2010

Martha Smock

Martha Smock speaks on fear, faith, and Divine Order

Martha Smock (1913-1984) served as editor of Daily Word for 35 years. This article is adapted from one originally published in June 1946.

If we were to stand on a high hill and watch in the valley below the progress of a stream, we would see its breaks and turns, we would see its varying width, we would see clear and clouded areas, still and troubled stretches. But we would see it as one stream, flowing into itself.

If we were to stand off from ourselves and from some high and mystic hill look down on this we call our life, it would not be unlike a stream, and we would see, with eyes free from the curtain of past or future, how days and months and years flow together, how all is swept along in the ceaseless progress of the soul.

There are no isolated incidents in life though there may seem to be. No experience comes to us that is completely foreign to our consciousness, that has no relation to what we are. The happening that seems so tragic now, that seems to change our whole life, cannot, does not, affect the ceaseless flowing of our life, does not stand unrelated to the past or future, but flows from the past and is absorbed into the future.

Can you remember the worries or fears of last year? Are they still as fearsome, as important, as they were then? Next year, the year after, and the year after, will you even be able to remember them? And today’s fear, which keeps your mind from rest and peace—will it be different from all the rest? It will not. It too will pass.

How soon the stream of life flows on! “I’ll never be happy again,” “I’ll never love again,” we say, but almost before the echo of our words has died away we have turned our heart and life toward the new, and laughter and light and love beckon to us from tomorrow.

What we are today is the result of all that has gone before. If we could, we would not exchange our experiences for those of anyone else in the world, troubled though our stream of life may have been and rough our voyage. We would not be the unique individual that we are without our particular background, without having passed through the experiences that life brought to us, without having made the mental, emotional and spiritual growth that we have made through the years. In the honesty of our soul we must admit that we would not want to be anyone else even if we could be. What we really want to be is the best possible self that we are capable of being.

We may ask ourselves: What is the purpose of life? Why am I here? We may not be able to see our purpose clearly, we may not be able to understand ourselves or our life from a human standpoint, but if we will think for a while on a different plane, if we will ascend the hill of Truth, we shall get a view of ourselves and life that is beautiful and inspiring, that reveals new horizons and possibilities for growth and good. We are a living soul on a living voyage, without beginning or end.