Personal Letters From Our Ancestors

A Letter From a Mother to Her Son Who Was a Prisoner of War

                                                                                                          A Friday in March 1916


My Dear Son Elemer:


Life is not a joke – it is not easy and we take on a responsibility when we attract a spirit down to earth.


I feel the burden of this moral responsibility especially with regard to you, my dear Son, because you have brought with you so many fine and noble qualities.


The purpose of life should be happiness according to human conceptions, but this varies so much from one individual to another, that it is difficult even to find the way that would lead to happiness.


As you know, it will be especially hard for you to achieve human happiness, since your sentiments are so pure, so exalted, your demands on life so great, that it would take a Titan to bear all the disappointments that are bound to affect you before you reach the road of wisdom.


I purposely say the road of wisdom and not happiness, because for you it is the only way to real contentment.  I am trying my best to lead you so that you may learn to see and observe correctly as soon as possible and get to comprehend the real meaning of this great universe; so you will be able to distinguish truth from falsehood.  For everything around you is but illusion and will take on the form you give it.


I know how painful it is to part from our childhood dreams, but my dear boy, better to awaken today to reality, than spend a long life in restlessness.


“Your nature is your law”.  First you have to discover what your own law is in order to bring it into harmony with the eternal law of the universe.  

Because, while there may be mercy for those who clash with the legal code of society, believe me, there is no pardon for those who even once break the Devine Law!


Today, my Son, you have only rights towards life, for your soul isn’t yet ready for the fight.  This is why today I am holding the sky for you lest it weigh too heavily on your shoulders before time.


Once you have unfolded your wings, you will have only duties. Unfortunately, I won’t be able then to ease them off your shoulders, for everyone has to carry his own cross.  Do not labor, my Son, to make that cross lighter – don’t be afraid of it - but to make your shoulders stronger.


When you have troubles, do not say:  “Why just me?”, but look upon trouble as the shadow which always follows the light and rather say: “why just not me?”


Do not make yourself the center of all things, otherwise life will always seem a problem.  Try to merge with the universe along with your desires, your will, your feelings, then your little ego will have but small burdens to bear.  Think of the ocean that is made up of tiny little drops, one cuddled against another, yet it will hold up the largest galleys.


Always be sure to achieve what you have undertaken.  Unfinished business can bring only restlessness – better to undertake less!


Consider every little pleasure as a present.  Don’t ask whether it will last until tomorrow.  If sorrow comes to you, do not brood over it – it will pass and believe me, what is passed, never comes back.


Let the crystal of your heart gather even the palest sunrays – then some of their warmth will be left for the cheerless winter days.


I will not tell you what your human duties are; you will know those yourself.


There is but one chance to stay on the straight road leading up step by step to more light and that is never to believe in an idea which is contrary to your heart. Too often your mind, our so-called reason, leads us astray and then for years we flounder in error until, all tired out, broken up and hopeless we return to the golden path of our heart. But what a waste, all those years!


I had thought first to leave you the experiences of your father and mine, hoping you might profit from those.  Today I realize that they were our mistakes from which you cannot learn, for while you were to draw lessons from our past, your own present would be trampling on you. Did mankind ever learn from the past of others?  It did not – it committed even greater blunders.  So my dear Son, you’d better destroy all that reminds you of us!  Burn every single writing! What cannot be forgotten, what cannot be burnt, will remain in your heart as a light-giving, comforting sunray and will give you strength to bear up under your duties.


Be modest towards life, then you’ll be rich.  Never do anything you will have to undo, then no bitterness will mar your memories.


What you love, love it with all your might! What you would like to have, enclose in your heart.  Do not keep your treasures outside yourself lest they become a source of constant worry. What lives within us cannot be lost.


There is but one sentiment that leaves no dregs, and that is love.  Love in which we can forget completely our own little person.


Let us keep a part of our feelings for others so we can allay their sorrows. Every grief has its vibration and it is for you to guess its nature.  You won’t console the poor if your prove to him that poverty is a spiritual treasure, but if you can share with him some of your own treasures.  You won’t comfort the sick by getting sick yourself, but if you are able to cure him.


Set yourself a small goal in the beginning, but be sure to reach it!  Thus gradually you will build up your big world. It will be unshakable only if you can weld harmoniously and hold together the small worlds.


Do not forget my Dear, that while you work on behalf of others, then you work most effectively for your own happiness.  Selfishness is our greatest enemy.


As nothing gets lost in the great universe, my affection, my thoughts will also remain somewhere and when they meet with yours, you will sense them and the warmth they give out will do you good.  In this manner perhaps I shall be able to assist you even after you will have grown out of the nest.


Do not puzzle over the mysteries of life.  Carry out the assumed responsibilities and await quietly the end of your present form.


Humanity is kept in constant terror by the thought of death, yet there is no such thing in the universe…this monster was created by man in his imagination and to his own likeness.  It frightens all those who do not accomplish their labor and who think they are mortal. In the beginning the idea of death horrified me too.  I did not know that nothing perishable is worth clinging to.  By the same token, only that can perish within us which is weak and unworthy of survival.


My dear Son, I have finished my task.  Whatever I might do from now on would be useless and could only sadden your heart, as it would always oblige you to look backward.

I erred a great deal! I suffered a great deal – and if I hadn’t brought you up, perhaps my whole life’s labor would be wrong.


Today at last I’ve come to rest.  I paid my debts.  I am prepared for the long journey on which no more is needed than a clear conscience.


So then, my dear Boy, look life straight in the face without fear, for whatever you’ll meet in life will be but the creation of your own mind, if you are good, you are noble, you are brave…

You shall not have enemies.


Until we meet again, my dear Son,

YOUR MOTHER