24. Everyone talks about misfortune; everyone has experienced it and therefore judges they understand its multiple character. I have come to tell you that almost everyone is deluded, as real misfortune is absolutely not what Man, that is to say those who are unfortunate, believe it to be. They see as misfortune the unheated stove, the threatening creditor, the empty cradle, tears, the funeral procession and those following with broken hearts, the anguish of betrayal and the stripping of pride from those who would wish to be dressed in the purple, but who can barely hide their nudity beneath the ragged tatters of their vanity. To all this, and much more, Man gives the name of misfortune. Yes, it is misfortune for those who only see the present. But real misfortunes are rather in the consequences of these facts than in the facts themselves. Tell me then, is a happening which at the time was considered to be a happy event, but which later caused disastrous consequences, not really more calamitous than another, which initially caused contrariety, but finally produced benefits? Tell me also, is a storm which uproots trees but purifies the air and dissipates unhealthy miasmas, which can cause death, not more of a blessing than an unhappiness?
In order to be able to judge, we must first consider the consequences. Thus in order to more fully appreciate what is really fortunate or unfortunate for Man, we must transport ourselves beyond the vision of this life, for it is only there that the consequences can begin to be felt. So everything called unhappiness, according to the short-sightedness of human beings, ends with the body and receives its compensation in the future life.
I will reveal unhappiness to you in yet another light, in the form of beauty and colour, which is accepted and even earnestly desired by your poor deluded souls. Pleasure, commotion, unnecessary agitation and the satisfaction of stupid vanities are the true misfortunes, causing Man to ignore his conscience, prevent his thought process and leave him in a dazed state with regard to his future. These true unhappinesses, so ardently sought after, are nothing more than the opium of forgetfulness. Have hope all who cry! Tremble all who laugh because their body is satiated! It is not possible to deceive God nor to escape one's destiny. Afflictions, those creditors more pitiless than the wolf pack, unloosed by your miseries, are constantly lurking behind the illusion of repose only to suddenly emerge in the form of agony, of real unhappiness, for all who have allowed their souls to become flabby through indifference and selfishness.
Therefore, let Spiritism offer enlightenment and establish truth and error in their real formats which, till now, have been so singularly deformed by your blindness! Act like brave soldiers who, far from running away from peril, prefer the dangerous fight rather than peace, which will bring them neither glory nor promotion! What does it matter to the soldier if he loses weapons, baggage and uniform if he comes out of battle the winner, covered with glory? What does it matter to those who have faith in the future if they leave riches and their physical bodies on the battlefield of life, provided the soul enters into the celestial Kingdom full of glory? - DELPHINE DE GIRARDIN (Paris, 1861).