Temple Bailey (1885 – 1953) was an American novelist and short story writer.
In the early 1900’s, her writings were published in The Saturday Evening Post, Woman’s Home Companion, Good Housekeeping and McCall’s.
What follows is the text of a handwritten transcription of one of Temple Bailey’s stories that was found among Mom’s final papers. She had obviously been touched by the story, had no way of getting a copy made and therefore wrote it out by hand.
It was written on business stationery from Imperial Financial Services, INC of Minneapolis, so may have been done during one of the winters she spent in Minneapolis during the 1970’s, during which time she volunteered at the Marie Sandvik Center and World Mission Prayer League offices.
I wonder what she was thinking as she spent considerable time writing out this word picture of a mother’s long journey.
by Temple Bailey
The young Mother set her foot on the path of life. “Is the way long?” she asked. And her Guide said, “Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”
But the young Mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them and life was good, and the young Mother said, “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this!”
Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the Mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle. And the children said, “Oh, Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near and no harm can come.” And the Mother said, “This is better than the brightness of day, for I have taught the children courage.”
And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the Mother grew weary, but at all times she said to the children, “A little patience, and we are there.” So the children ran and climbed and when they reached the top, they said, “We could not have done it without you, Mother,” and the Mother, when she lay down that night looked up at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness; yesterday I gave them courage, today I have given them strength.”
And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth–clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled and the Mother said, “Look up! Lift your eyes to the Light.” And the children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them and brought them out beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”
And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the Mother grew old, and she was little and bent.
But the children were tall and strong, and walked with courage.
And when the way was hard, they helped their Mother, and when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was light as a feather.
And at last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road, and the Golden Gates flung wide and the Mother said, “I have reached the end of my Journey. And now I know that the end is better than the beginning. For my children can walk alone, and their children after them.”
And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.”
And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the Golden Gates closed after her.
Note from Sharon: I find the effort Mom put into this handwritten copy very touching. It was her intention to trust God and stand by her children. In the walking out of those desires and intentions, there were flaws as there are with any of us. In spite of those flaws (which were sometimes more apparent during her fading years and the struggle with dementia), I have clear memories of her faith, her desire to be found trusting Jesus and her faithful praying for all of her children.