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Chapter 21 Valueless wet lands made profitable by idealization

Strange as it seems, yet it is true Greatly increased value can be given to land -even to useless land possessing no market value at all -by such ideals as love and service, the values of which are apparently so distinct and separate from the values of land. But values of love and service cannot be connected with the values of land unless the process of relating the two factors is idealized.

Frankly, I do not know whether the father and mother, concerned with the story I am writing, recognize idealization or not. But one thing is certain, whether they recognize it or not, -the great success they made -in using a little plot of useless low wet land to provide college education for their three children -is the result of idealization.

The story begins twenty-two years ago. Soon after they were married, the father of the young wife gave her a little plot of wetland, seemingly quite useless except for water bugs and sand flies. It was on the Rhode Island coast, off the main road, in an out-of-the-way place. Even today it is twelve miles from a railway station. On the plot, the father built for his daughter a little cottage, to which the young married couple could go for the summertime.

During the next few years three children were born to them. The mother and father were poor. It was possible to carry the children through grammar school and high school, but how to pay their way through college was a problem! The hearts of the mother and father were filled with a consuming desire -a desire to give each of their children a college education. Their minds were practical minds. Hence, they looked about to see what they had that could be used to help provide a means of sending their children to college.

I presume when they first thought of the wetland at the seashore and the little cottage there, in the out-of-the-way place, it seemed only an object of expense to them, -certainly not the means of an income sufficient to provide three college educations. But they did something with this real thing they had. They idealized it. They may have done this consciously; they may have done it unconsciously. But, they did it. Instead of thinking of the land as an out-of-the-way wet place to which few people wished to go, they idealized it as a place of peaceful seclusion to which a certain class of people would wish to go for a rest. Such idealization recognizes God as Wisdom. It was adapted to the place and the conditions, to themselves and to their pocketbooks. I was there one July, -there were no glass-screened porches, no casinos, no ornamented boardwalks, and no vain show of life. But there was life itself! The people visiting there were real people. There was freedom of action. There was fellowship and the spirit of love and service. Also there was rest.

The father and mother had made it pay. They had made it pay from year to year, which means they had rendered such good service, such idealized service for the prices charged, that visitors returned year after year. They have succeeded. The three children have been given college educations and this in itself is sufficient proof of their success. And yet there is something greater than this. The father and mother each summer are giving a spiritual education to a hundred or more different guests who see God's idealization of service in action.


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