In morning's dawn so fresh and fair
Two lads began to climb.
Mid scenes removed from strife and care
They played away their time.
They came from the same rural neighborhood, the same country lane. Inseparable as youngsters, they dug in sand piles, climbed trees, swung on old tires that dangled on long ropes, wore straw hats and overalls, and went without shoes through long summer months. They fished with makeshift poles, hunted pheasant nests, and talked--oh how they talked and dreamed and wondered what grown-up years would bring.
But broader years would try their souls,
And sterner times, their hearts,
To batter down their quest for goals
And drive them far apart.
The Great Depression came, and with it, the years of school and seeking jobs and struggling to make their way in the world. They were separated, careers and families came, the war intervened, and then more of work and families and challenge. One sought to be honest, moral, and upright, always and in every way. Any advantage had at the expense of character was not for him. The other sought his ends by any means and by any sacrifice. Virtue, family, integrity--all gave way before his grasping for success.
Then in the twilight years they came,
Each to his former place,
To spend their final years in peace,
Familiar scenes embrace.
Both had accumulated considerable means. They patched up their old family homes, made improvements, and prepared to live out the quiet years in homes along a lane that was still rural, remote and apart from the pace of the world. The good man, as he settled in his chair through those years and watched the seasons pass, had distill upon him a gentle peace and quiet contentment, almost as if nature itself approved of his course; and all his days were marked by quiet happiness.
The other man could not rest. Peace did not come. Anxiety, fear, distrust, discontent--all these began to weigh down upon his aging shoulders with a grinding, crushing force. His final years were years of (heck), until his senses forsook him, his tormented heart gave way, and he died a frightened death in the home in which he was reared.
The bar of nature's God is fair,
His judgment always right.
Those lives full sown with good and love
Shall yield up peace and light.
(The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Religion 211, 212, p. 307.)