Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience, by Anton T. Boisen, #10

Our Ordained Chaplains scripture verse for today is Matthew 25:40 which reads, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Our Ordained Chaplains quote for today is from George Washington Carver. He said, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

In this podcast, we will continue discussing the book “Out of the Depths” by Anton T. Boisen. We continue today with “Early Years: Earliest Impressions” (Part 6):

Memorial services were held for him [my father] in Lawrenceville and in Bloomington. At Indiana University the address was given by David Starr Jordan. This address has been of particular importance to me. I give it in full:

“Think of me always at my best, Davy” was the last request of Steerforth to David Copperfield. And to-day, as we meet to do honor to the memory of Professor Boisen, it behooves us to cast aside all other recollections and to think of him only at his best, for men of genius have ever their ebb and flow. All such memories we shall lay aside forever. For at his best what a man he was! So broad, so fine, so tender, so intense. A teacher who inspired all with whom he came in contact; who touched everything with life and made even the vagaries of the German article a thing of beauty and of light. A linguist to whom all languages and all literatures caine as a natural inheritance, who rejoiced alike in the misty dreams of the stormy Northmen, the homely life of the Plattdeutscher, and the polished imagery of the Greeks; a lover of nature whose knowledge of trees and plants and flowers was the envy of professional botanists; one who saw everything in nature and had a heart open to all sweet influences of flower and bird and sky; a man of boundless energy who threw into the most trifling duty the full strength of his mighty soul. Thus sometimes his work seemed like that of a mighty engine fastened to a common cart, for he never did all that he could have done either as a teacher or a writer. The time had not yet come when the world could put him to its highest use.

My pleasantest memories of Professor Boisen are associated with his love of nature and his fine appreciation of German literature, German life, German history and German scenery. He could speak of each of these in a strain of vigor and of poetry such as one rarely hears. He once laid out a tramp for us through Holstein and Thuringia and was never weary of telling us of the beautiful things we should see on the road, the rocks and lakes and glens and castles, the Inselberg, the Liebenstein, and the forest-hidden Ukleisee, which, alas, we shall never see with his eyes.

When I first visited this city five years ago, Professor Boisen, as the highest courtesy he could show me, took me out in his carriage to see the treasure of Bloomington. It Is a steep hill-side, covered with trees and carpeted with a flower seldom seen in the west, the trailing arbutus, the may-flower of our Pilgrim fathers.

I never had a more delightful companion. Never was I with one who saw more or better. Every bush was to him an old friend. Every leaf he knew. Every bud was to him the promise of an opening flower and to see a flower in the early spring a thing worth living for.

To me the woods and glens around Bloomington are full of memories of him and with the arbutus-covered hillside his name should be forever associated.

In our next broadcast, we will continue with Part 1 of “Early Years: In the Old Home.”