Things to Be Desired

In an effort to clear some of the black smoke I seem to be accumulating in these parts, I'm posting the Desiderata. It's a little cheesy, but it has a way of directing me toward a decent track when my mind gets a muddle with negativity. Whatever works, right? As it happens, it was written by none other than a lawyer, Max Ehrmann, back in the 20's.

I first saw it in the bathroom of one of my beloved Chicago haunts, Hillary's Urban Eatery (HUE, rest in peace). It was this wonderfully eclectic place where you could get a delish mexican fusion brunch or a nice dinner on the cheap. Many a first date were had there.... Now it's a gourmet grocery store. Tear. In loving memory of HUE, I framed my own copy of the Desiderata and hung it up in my own bathroom for all to enjoy. While they're, you know, doing their business. What? Whatever, it's only a restaurant.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and 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 and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and 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 and disenchantment it is as 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 distress yourself with dark 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 and 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 and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

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

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