24.What Does God Say to Me?
by Dame Edith Evans
I believe that good is stronger than evil. I have found that if applied with complete faith, it can obliterate evil.
Knowledge like this gives one great strength in time of oppression or tyranny. I believe that hatred is destructive. It is not always easy or possible to love people, nations, or ideas, but at least, I say to myself, Do not hate them: try to turn thoughts toward God. Someone once said, “It is better to love the good than hate the bad.”
I have all of my share of the artist’s temperament, and one of our faults is that we think people are being unfair to us, or that we are suffering from other people’s jealousy — the persecution complex, in fact. The one and only way in which I have been able to clear this away is to turn my mind and thoughts to good and to God. I say, Never mind what he or she or they say, what does God say to me? Where does my life come from? Who is the source of all my qualities, and can anything prevent those qualities from being used?
I believe, today, that a great flood of good would be released in the world if all of us concentrated upon following the simple commands of Christ: “Love God first, and your neighbor as yourself.” As “yourself,” I try to remember. So if I think kindly of myself, then I think kindly of my neighbor. When Christ was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” what did He say? He told the story of the Samaritan.
People are always demanding of us British, “Don’t you dislike Americans?” And conversely to you Americans, “Don’t you dislike the British?” I can’t bear classing people together nationally, and liking or disliking them. People are people wherever you meet them. They are all the children of the one God.
I have been asked how I felt in the Blitz. Most of the time, I was in London, terribly excited by fear. But the only way I could keep going about my work at all was by constantly assuring myself that the all-powerful God would take care of me.
On looking round the world today, one is impressed by the amount of fear that is expressed by everybody: fear of war, fear of ill health, fear of not being able to hold a job, fear of people getting ahead of you, fear of losing opportunity; fear of losing friends, lovers, advantages; fear of death.
We are constantly reading articles, and hearing speeches, where the writers and the speakers tell us that we must cease being so material. But what most of us want to know is how? If a busy man at his office is faced with a seemingly insuperable problem, how is he to solve this problem by other than material means?
But, of course, the answer is so simple. Like Naaman, who said, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?” we tend to disregard it.It is always to turn our thoughts immediately, and with absolute confidence, away from the difficulty, and if, as I said at the beginning, one believes in the power of good, one must quietly know that the power of good will give all the right answers to the problem, even if the answer is required within a few minutes or half an hour.
And when I say these things, I say them because I have proved them. In fact, throughout the ups and downs of my theatrical life, if I had not had some simple code — because I am not a highly intellectual woman — I should not be doing happily and successfully the work that I love