Soaking Baths, Pincushions, And Long Walks

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2011

Take a long soaking bath in the tub. Keep a pincushion nearby. Take long, slow walks.
Those were among the gems of advice an old Moravian pastor and columnist gave his Charlotte readers two generations ago. I spent Sunday afternoon reading the delightful columns of the late Bishop Herbert Spaugh, now re-published in a book by my pastor, the Rev. Jeff Carter of Macedonia Moravian Church.
The book, Everyday Counsel for Everyday Living and The Pathway to Contentment, was given to my son Michael on Sunday following his confirmation vows. Spaugh died in 1978 and is remembered among the Who’s Who of Moravian pastors. His columns in the old Charlotte News touched thousands, and I was amazed at their practical good sense even though the author never experienced the modern marvels — and distractions — of Facebook, cellphones and the Internet.
“Nervous tension is driving thousands of people into doctor’s offices and hospitals. It is impairing daily work, decreasing efficiency, ruining good dispositions, destroying personal happiness, breaking up homes, all this in addition to undermining health. The chief remedy can be named in one word — Relax.” That’s the first paragraph and the beginning of a litany of good advice from a pastor who had experienced his own nervous breakdown while drowning in his parishioners’ problems. That’s when he got a pincushion and imagined sticking all the day’s insults in it. “The world is full of poor unfortunates who take an unholy delight in needling other people, pushing pins into their feelings,” Spaugh wrote. His pincushion was where he stuck all those darts of the day.
When he went to bed, he imagined piling all the day’s troubles on the night stand so he could sleep soundly.
Spaugh was Carter’s pastor in Charlotte at the Little Church on the Lane.
Among the book’s 10 Rules to Friendship: “Keep an Open Mind on All Debatable Questions. Discuss, don’t argue. It’s the mark of superior minds to be able to disagree and yet be friendly.”
Politicians and prattling cable TV news commentators could heed that wisdom.
Among his 10 Rules for a Happy Home: “The home is a place of sacrifice. Father, mother, and children must sacrifice to make a peaceful, happy home. Sacrifice brings happiness, while selfishness brings discord.”
Here’s another: “Don’t go back over past quarrels and mistakes, raking over ashes of old, dead fires.”
Here’s a line from the column, The Need for Forgiveness: “Pity the man who can never acknowledge he is wrong. Sin and evil block many of us off from happiness. You don’t fool God; why fool yourself?”
Among his 10 Commandments for Relaxation: Learn the value of …