Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross
Written by Lynn Terry
Mrs. Terry, the author of many of the Beta Sigma Phi rituals and program books, is largely responsible for the sorority´s cultural program. Here she examines friendship, perhaps the most precious single thing that can be offered to pledges.
"THE WORLD OR MY OWN ISLAND? The circus of life, or the ivory tower? Where does my choice lie?"
Reading these words from the pen of an excellent writer, I paused to think about them, to consider the meanings they imply. Immediately I thought of Beta Sigma Phi and the answer it has given to all of these questions for all of us who are members.
I thought of it in terms of friendship, where indeed our choice is made. I thought of friendship in its many stages from the simplest liking of our fellow being and on to that most lasting and loving devotion which friendship may become.
Would the dweller in the ivory tower, or the insular person, take the time or make the effort necessary to acquire friends? Yet, the wise of all times have told us that friendship is one of the best rewards of life; and our own experience proves it is so.
I thought especially of the value of friendship in the later years of life, when to be friendless seems to me the worst of all possible fates, and where it is so difficult to find or make new friends.
"Friendless" is among the saddest of words. And no item printed was ever sadder than that small item which tells of someone who died - friendless and alone.
I asked myself, "Do we in Beta Sigma Phi, who are so blessed with friendship, sometimes forget how much was ´given´ to us when we were given a bid to membership?" The word "gift" is important, for something was "given" to us, not something achieved by us.
So our concern should be with the gift and with the service of it. In another sense it doesn´t belong to you at all. It has been entrusted to you. You are its steward.
How do we merit such a gift? The answer is obvious. To deserve such a gift, to be truly worthy of it compels us to show our gratitude by doing our utmost to give it to others.
Members participating in a forum on rushing and pledging were asked why they had pledged. "Because someone asked me to join," was the most popular answer.
Because someone asked me to join!
What a revelation this is, and what an inspiration it should be. Someone asked me to join. As simple as that. Only that.
Reading the phrase, I felt, as I had often felt before, that whatever it has been my privilege to do for Beta Sigma Phi, the finest and most fruitful thing I ever did was to ask some hundreds of women to join.
Without new members, the rituals I have written, or the programs prepared, would have been as nothing, and it was in asking those women to join and in that alone I feel some sense of deserving the munificence and multitude of the friendship given me.
With each prospective pledge I invited to join, and doubly so with those who accepted, I truly and for all times gave to myself a gift, a gift to add to all the others Beta Sigma Phi has given to me.
After more than 25 years, I still receive messages . . "So-and-so sent her love--you pledged her at such and such a time in such and such a place." Rich rewards that never cease. My only possible regret is that I could not have asked more women to join.
Someone asked me to join - the key to friendship in action. You remember that in Drummond´s essay he tells that Jesus learned love as He learned carpentry, by practicing.
We must do the same with friendship. What better way can we practice our friendship and show our gratitude to Beta Sigma Phi than by making it possible for another new member to say "Someone asked me to join." For your own sake, as a gift to thyself, I urge you to be that "someone."
We have all observed that those members who truly love Beta Sigma Phi and feel most grateful for what it has given them are the ones who are most generous and most eager to offer it to others.
Did you ever know anyone who had too many friends? Have you ever taken into account of how many new friends you make in a year? Two new friends a year will mean twenty friends in ten years. Often a woman coming into a Beta Sigma Phi chapter gains that many friends in one evening - the evening of her installation ceremony. What a gift to her and what a gift to that "someone" who asked her to join.
This is our "magic." We must never forget it. We must never neglect to offer it to others. And most important of all, we must remember and realize in joy that in giving to another the privilege of becoming a Beta Sigma Phi, we have surely and certainly given to our own selves and to each of our Chapter sisters, as great a gift as many to be had in life, the gift of a new friend.