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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter III
I hunted around for something that would bring me a little money, only to discover that I was a perfectly useless person. I could make beautiful lace, but nobody wanted lace and, in any case, I couldn't get the materials for lace making in America. I had no particular gifts; I could not use a typewriter; I could not teach; I did not know what to do. There was only one industry in this district and that was the sardine industry and rather than let the children [126] starve I decided to become a factory hand and. work in a sardine cannery.

I remember the time of crisis when I came to this decision. It was a major spiritual crisis. As I have earlier pointed out, I had arrived in America with much questioning in my mind as to the spiritual verities which could be believed. The theological course which I took on arrival did not help me at all. Any theological course would undermine a man's faith if he is intelligent enough to ask questions and is not of the type that accepts blindly what the churchmen say. The commentaries which I consulted in the theological library seemed to me inane, badly written and platitudinous. They answered no question; they dealt in abstractions; they evaded realities even when claiming to know exactly what God meant and intended, and sought to solve all problems by quoting St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and the saints of the Middle Ages. Theologians never seem to face up to the basic issues; they fall back upon the trite statement that, "God said." But perhaps He didn't; perhaps the translation was wrong; perhaps the phrase under consideration was an interpolation - there are many such in the Bible. Then came the question in my mind: Why did God speak only to Jews? I knew nothing of the other Scriptures in the world and if I had known them I would not have regarded them as Scriptures. There were parts of the Old Testament that shocked me and parts that made me often wonder how they ever got through the mails. In an ordinary book they would have been regarded as obscene, but in the Bible they were all right. I began to wonder if my interpretations were not as good as somebody else's. I remember pondering one day on the verse in the Bible, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." It seemed to me that God was keeping a lot of statistics. I consulted a theologian in the seminary and found that his [127] answer was that this Biblical statement proved that God was not conditioned by time. I discovered next that the cross was not a Christian symbol but that it long antedated Christianity and this was a final blow.

I was, therefore, completely disillusioned by life, by religion with its orthodox presentation and by people, particularly my own husband whom I had idealized. No one needed me, except three babies, and I used to be needed by hundreds and thousands. Only a small handful of people cared in their busy lives what happened to me and I used to matter to lots of people. I seemed to have reached the point where I was absolutely useless, just doing the chores and the ordinary routine of small town living which hundreds of women, with less background, education and brains were probably doing better. I was tired of washing diapers and cutting bread and butter. I knew the meaning of complete despair. The only comfort which I had were the children and they were so tiny that their healing quality lay in their lack of understanding.

The climax of this came on a day when I was quite desperate and, leaving the children in the care of a neighbor, I went out into the woods alone. For hours I lay on my face wrestling with my problem and then, standing up under a big tree, which I could probably find again if that piece of ground has not been built over, I told God that I was quite desperate, that I would take anything that I had to take if it would only release me to a more useful life. I told Him that I had exhausted the resources of doing "everything for Jesus' sake"; that I did do everything for His sake, as far as I could; that I swept and dusted and cooked and washed and looked after the babies to the very best of my ability, and so what.

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