I am the father of three daughters, varying in age from 11 to 24. I want to share with you a chapter from Beautiful Girlhood, by Mabel Hale, because I have found the truth illustrated in the lives of my daughters so compelling. To the extent they get these oils in their lives, I find my home to be an early glimpse of heaven. Certainly I add some of the friction that is referred to in the following, as a father who must sometimes overrule their wishes, as another member of the home who arrives home in the evening tired and hungry, and simply as another human being with my own faults and mysteries. To my own daughters, God bless you for the help you so often are, and my prayers are with you to gain still more ground in this area. To all you other daughters, sisters, and young ladies, whether still in your parents’ home or in homes of your own now, may I commend to you the following.
From Beautiful Girlhood, by Mabel Hale
The Oils of Life
“Mercy and truth preserve the king.” (Proverbs 20:28)
The great engine upon the track might have every part complete, with fire in the box and steam in the boiler, but it will not go as it should unless it is well oiled. While perfect workmanship and fire and water are all necessary, the oil is needed also.
Just so it is with our lives. We may build high ideals and have lofty aspirations, may do many good deeds and be prepared for usefulness in many ways, but if there is not in our lives the oils that lubricate the machinery of life, we shall be unable to make progress. You have heard the creak and groan of wheels that needed oil, and you may have tried to use a machine whose oil cups had become dry, friction dragging the whole machine. Unoiled lives are just the same, running hard, with much complaining. You can tell them by their lamentations and murmurings, and by the friction they produce.
There is the oil of kindness, which should go down into the heart, and which, working out from there, will make the daily life go smoothly. In fact, this oil is of little use if it does not go down into the heart; for any that is only put on the tongue or over some special act for the time being will soon wear off and leave the machine as creaky as before. But she who gets kindness down into her heart will find it working out in her words and actions until she becomes a constant blessing in the household.
One who has kindness of heart is able to look upon the failings of others with consideration and patience, for she remembers that she herself is not without fault. She who has this precious oil in her life is not saying cutting things and giving way to hard speeches, which wound and hurt her companions.
Another oil very good to put on with kindness is called politeness. Used alone it does not do thorough work, because it does not reach every part. It will help in conduct toward those who are higher or of more apparent consequence, but the tongue and actions will be rough as toward the poor and old and weak. But politeness with kindness makes a very smooth and pleasant combination of oils. Only when politeness is used in this way will it show a genuine character. Little courtesies help along very much in oiling life.
“Thank you,” and, “If you please,” are two short phrases that oil a request and make it smooth and pleasing to the one receiving it. “I beg your pardon,” and, “Please excuse me,” are two more little polite remarks that make good lubricants.
To rise and give your seat to an older person, to show particular courtesy to the aged, to speak respectfully to and about the old and infirm, are little things, but they make glad the hearts of the aged pilgrims through life and cause their faces to shine. It has been said that these little courtesies are like air cushions, nothing in them, yet they still the jars of life immensely. Let us have plenty of them to help us over the bumps of life.
Kind thoughts are also a good oil to place on troubled waters. If one will, by God’s help, always keep his thoughts of those about him kind and forgiving, no matter how trying things may be, then he can go along without friction. Every unkind word and act is the result of some unkind thought. And some of these thoughts bear fruit almost immediately. So long as I can keep a thought of kindness in my heart I can treat my brother well.
Patience is another oil much needed in life’s machinery. There is so much that tends to annoy and fret a girl, that goes crosswise to what she wants it to go, there are so many days that she has to spend doing things she does not care to do, so many disappointments and little vexing things, that if she does not keep well oiled with patience she is liable to become cross and sharp-spoken. When anyone in a home runs low with patience it is keenly felt by all the rest. The expression of the countenance, the tone of the voice, the manner of speaking—all tell instantly that patience has run low. Every girl needs a good supply of this precious lubricant, which not only smoothes the rough places but gives to the life a fragrance that is very pleasant. She who is both kind and patient is always desirable.
Thoughtfulness and consideration are two more oils needed in any home. The members of a family live so closely together that when one member is rusty it affects all the rest, more or less. On the other hand, if the daughter of a family can keep always well oiled in tongue and spirit with kindness, thoughtfulness, and patience, her sunny, pleasant smile will drive the shadows away and bring the sunlight into the home.
When I find that I am getting sore and fretted with the annoyance of someone rubbing me the wrong way, I may know that my oil cup is getting low; for when I have plenty of the oils of life I can stand a great deal of rubbing without getting peevish. And again, if I find I am rubbing someone else till he or she is getting all worn, I had better look; it may be that I am rough and need to stop the friction of my own acts with more oil.
The place to go to get fresh supplies of these precious oils is at the throne of God. Every girl who will seek may have of Him all the grace she needs to keep her life running sweet and smooth in her home and in her school, or wherever she may be. Or if she must be with those who are full of friction and strife, she may, in spite of it all, be so covered with the precious, gentle oils that the sweetness and smoothness of her life will have a quieting effect.