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The Road To Calvary
by [?]

She was sitting half dreaming, half listening to the old preacher, when suddenly one sentence in a sermon, otherwise prosy and conventional, arrested her attention. For the moment she could not remember it, and then it came to her. “All roads lead to Calvary.” Perhaps he was going to be worth listening to at last. “To all of us sooner or later,” he was saying, “comes the choosing of the ways: either the road leading to success, the gratification of desires, the honour and approval of our fellow men–or the path to Calvary.” And yet it seems to me that the utterance is only a half-truth after all. It is the half-truth which clergymen like to utter. They always picture worldly success as happiness, the gratification of desires happiness also, but gained at the price of one’s own “soul.” But there they are wrong. It seems to me that all roads do lead to Calvary–yes, even the road of the worldly success, the limelit path of gratification. Whichever path you take, it leads to Calvary–though there is the Calvary which, as it were, has peace behind its pain, and the Calvary which has merely loneliness and regret. But life, it seems to me, leads to Calvary whichever way you follow–the best one can do is merely to bring a little ray of happiness, ease a little the pain, share the sorrow and the solitude of those who walk with us along the rough-hewn pathway. If you live only for yourself you are lonely; if you live only for others you are also left lonely at last. For it seems to me that the “soul” of every man and woman is a lonely “soul,” no matter if their life be one long round of pleasure-seeking and success, or merely renunciation. Only occasionally, very, very occasionally–maybe only once in a lifetime!–do we ever really feel that our own “soul” and the “soul” of another has met for an all-too-brief moment, shared for a flash its “secret,” mutually sympathised and understood. For the rest–well, we live for the most part holding out, as it were, shadowy arms towards shadows which only seem to be substance. The road to Calvary is a lonely road, and each man and woman is forced to follow it. There remains then only God–God who knows us for what we are; God–and the faith that in a life beyond we shall by our loved ones be also recognised and known. For the rest, we but look at each other yearningly through iron bars–and from a long, long distance. The least lonely road which leads to Calvary is the road which leads to God; the least lonely pilgrims are those who walk with Him. But not everybody can believe in God, no matter how they yearn. They seek “soul” realisation in success, in self-gratification, in the applause and passion of the crowd. The “religious” men condemn and despise them. But they are wrong. They are more to be pitied. For they do not find consolation in the things by which they have sought to drug the loneliness of their inner life. Their Calvary is often the most terrible of all. So it seems to me that Calvary is at the end of whichever road we take. We are wise when we realise that it is in our own power to make that road brighter and happier for others, and that there are always halts of interest and delight, entertainment and joy, dotted along it for ourselves as well–if we look for them. But we do not escape Calvary even though we struggle for success, gratify our own desires, seek the honour and approval of our fellow-men. It is just the Road of Life, and, provided that we harm no other man in so doing, let us realise ourselves in worldly ambition and in love and in enjoyment as often as we may. That is my philosophy, but it is no less lonely in reality than other people’s. Old age is each man’s Calvary.