The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

The Master Key to HAPPINESS
By Margerie Scott, International Honorary Member

From the August, 1948 issue of The Torch
(Paraphrased by Marilyn Ross)

 I think that to talk to you about your own organization seems a little like preaching to the converted, but I believe most of you reading this right now have been in Beta Sigma Phi for some time; it is quite familiar to you, very close as well as very dear, and so perhaps you do not see it quite as I see it, coming to it more or less as a stranger. To me, it seems a very remarkable thing indeed, immensely strong and unshakable and with a great power for good in the world, not only nationally but internationally, "One man with a dream, at pleasure, shall go forth and conquer a crown." I think you will agree with me that Beta Sigma Phi is an amazing instance of what can be done by one man with a dream.

 One of the principal tenets of this organization is Friendship, one of those everyday words which we use so often and so lightly that it tends to lose a little of its meaning. There is an old saying that a friend is one who knows all about you but loves you just the same. We might alter that a little, and say that a friend is one who knows very little about you, but who offers you the hand of friendship just the same, as Beta Sigma Phi did to each of us. What it means, of course, is that women everywhere are potentially your friends, and that means women in Liverpool and Latvia, and Paris and Prague, and Brussels and Beirut, for Beta Sigma Phi will continue to grow. Nothing can stop it, because it's a good thing, and based on principles that are fundamentally sound, and every single one of us can do something to help to spread the knowledge we've gained, and to share the happiness we've found. A good deal of nonsense is written and talked about happiness, because people persist in believing that it can come to them from outside, from things or people, or circumstances, but of course it can't do anything of the sort. Happiness is born and bred, and lives, or dies, in our hearts and in our minds and in our understanding, particularly, I think, in our understanding.

 Almost the only precious thing that we in the old world have left to give to you in the new is a true sense of values. It is not something we sought for, and we take no credit for having it, but we have it now and forever. We know now what happiness is, and how very little it is dependent on things or even on circumstances. We know what things are necessary to living--and you would be surprised how few they are--and what things are not. Out of our sorrows and sufferings, that one thing has come, a true sense of values, and it is inestimably precious.

 That, then, is one way to find the happiness we all, quite rightly, want to have; to cultivate a true sense of values, to look away from things, into the meaning of things. Another way is the way you do it in Beta Sigma Phi, to give it. All of you have found happiness in Beta Sigma Phi. Can you look back and think of the times you have been happiest, the times when you have felt utterly content and completely fulfilled? If you can, I think you will find that those were the times when you were giving rather than receiving. Not materially, but in sympathy, compassion, a smile, a little fun, or when you did something for someone else or for your Chapter, that was really an effort to do. Nobody, I am sure, ever found happiness in any other way; not in any of the ways we mean when we say: "Oh, if only I could have that, or do this, or go there, I should be happy." Happiness isn't really hard to get or far to seek. In Maeterlinck's lovely play THE BLUE BIRD, the children go everywhere looking for the Blue Bird of Happiness, to the Land of Memory and to the Kingdom of the Future, and when they come home again, there is the Blue Bird, in their own cage in their own cottage, the small grey dove they had left behind, and they had never noticed before how blue he was, and the little boy says; "We went so far, and he was here all the time."

 I think there has never been a time when there was so much unhappiness in the world, so much fear and distrust and unrest and apprehension, and it seems to me that it is not difficult to see how much good an organization like Beta Sigma Phi, standing firmly on Friendship, and carrying that big word "International," can do. It means, for all of us, learning to think internationally instead of nationally, it means looking away from our own front doors, and getting rid of all the feelings that go with that word "foreigner" which is almost always used disparagingly. We are all technically foreigners everywhere in the world except in our own country, and our own country is only one part of the world as a whole. I like to think that there are no foreigners in Beta Sigma Phi, and no frontiers. Wherever we are, whoever we are, our principles are the same, our ideals are the same, our aims and objects are the same. With so much that is the same, the differences are small indeed. I hope we may all be sure in the knowledge that the happiness we want and need is within ourselves, never dependent on any person, or thing, or set of circumstances, and that the loss of any person, or thing, or set of circumstances, cannot take it away from us; and the firm resolve to share with less fortunate people, near or far, the treasure we have found in Beta Sigma Phi.

 Remember that "All who joy would win, must share it--happiness was born a twin."

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