Saturday, October 29, 2016

Things wanted or needed

Found this poem while looking through things belonging to my grandfather a while ago and just thought it was very share-worthy.

Go placidly among the noise & haste, & remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not stress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

While a note at the bottom of the page says it was found in Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore, from 1692, a quick online search actually revealed it to be from Max Ehrman, from the year 1927. The link provided in this paragraph gives a brief history of how it got its usual attribution. Also of note is that in the version I found among my grandfather's things, the second to last sentence reads "Be careful" rather than "Be cheerful." I much rather prefer the latter version, as I've posted above.

Strive to be happy, everybody. I don't think there's much better general advice than that.

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