My Dear Mom:
You have nothing. A small room in a hotel. Stuffy and no home with friends and family in it. A job that gives no enlightenment or has no further aim than to be done each day, building nothing for yourself. No easy transportation but to be jostled by the crowds. Nor fancy meals, nor luxurious trips, nor fame nor wealth. Children who rarely write. You have nothing.
So say your friends, but they are wrong. Wealth is not happiness nor is swimming pools and villas. Nor is great work alone reward, or fame. Foreign places visited themselves give nothing. It is only you who bring to the places your heart, or in your great work feeling, or in your large house place. If you do this there is happiness. But your heart can be as easily brought to Samarkand as to the Hudson river. Peace is as difficult to achieve in a large house as in a small one. Feeling can be brought to any work. Your friends of wealth have nothing because of it that they would lose, if with more modest means.
In the sea of material desire that is our country you have found an inlet and a harbor. You are far from perfectly happy, but are as contentful as you can be, with your make-up in the world that is. That is a great achievement, or a great woman.
Why do I write this? Because you have told me these things many times, and I have nodded, vaguely understanding. But you mention them again and again, so perhaps you think I do not understand. For so few understand, each friend questions you, each relative hounds you with the query, how can you live in such a tiny place, how can you work in that unbearable shop with those horrible sales girls? You know how. They could never do it, nor can they live as contentedly in any other way, for they do not possess your inner strength and greatness. A greatness which has come to realize itself thru the knowledge that, beyond poverty, beyond the point that the material needs are reasonably satisfied, only from within is peace.
I offer you all my resources of wealth. What do you want, what will you take? You can have anything \$ 10,000 could bring you. I have offered many times. Not $10 worth can you think you need that you will let me give you. I bother you no more. I will never say it again, but you must always know that I will give you any material thing of wealth you could desire. Now or in my ability in the future. You have no insecurity. And tho you wrack your brains to think of something -- not the smaller item suggests itself to you. No man is rich who is unsatisfied, but who wants nothing possess his heart's desire. No need to concern yourself with friends' attempts to help. You are not forced to live as you do. Your son's offer proves that. It is your choice, your life, your simplicity, your peace and your contentment. It needs no further justification.
And I can offer all I own, even if I were selfishly doing so, for I know you want none of it.
When I offer it, what do you ask? You ask that I write to you. What can I give more easily, and am yet more stingy about? Tho I know your strength now requires nothing for its self-confidence, --tho I know you could live without my writing by accepting such a fact and living with it, --I do not desire to test your strength or to make your burden more heavy. What son has a mother who in such circumstances asks less of him!
My duty is clear, right action obvious. May I have the strength of resolve that this be the beginning of a more regular correspondence. I hope that the lesson of your stregnth in life will inspire me more often to try to add a bit you really want. I offer no more fans. If you want them ask. I hope I can write more often to a most deserving and inspiring woman. I love you.
It is funny that you tell such beautiful things to the one who taught you the most essential things in this world. Who on earth will not be moved by this? And yet, this man said that his talks are not writable as in literature.
One might wonder, who writes letters these days? I do, and in the unavailability of suitable recipients who'd converse, I sometimes write to myself. But I think, someday, perhaps someday soon, I'll write letters to many. Whether they read it or not, is not my concern.
Thoughts while reading "Don't you have time to think?"