The Desiderata

Desiderata (Latin: “desired things”, plural of desideratum) is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). It exhorts the reader to “be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be”, and to “keep peace with your soul”. “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,” wrote Ehrmann, “it is still a beautiful world.”Wikipedia

Unquestionably, some of this “prose-poem” may be a bit pretentious, and revolves around concepts, at times which are not entirely sound, especially for the Christian believer. We note these things and look for what we need. My old pastor liked to observe, “Swallow the meat, and spit out the bones.” That seems fitting, especially now. But no matter what we say, this particular work has very much wisdom for each of us. It is worthwhile.

 

  The Desiderata

“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 vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or 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.”

Max Ehrmann, 1927

 

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On a Wing and a Prayer

 

B-29

6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Philippians 1:6

When I saw this photo of a B-29 it seemed perfect to open up this post. Sometimes we return from combat ‘on a wing and a prayer’

I have been ill for a long time.  My hepatitis has been aggravated the last three months.  The Bipolar depression has been a bit better, but it seems to linger like an unwelcome guest.  Recovery from the effects from my brain tumor has stalled.  And I suppose I could go on, but I won’t.

I’m mindful that I was aware of hypochondriacs before this recent spate with a medical issues.  I was pretty much annoyed by these complainers, they seemed to always be talking about themselves.  Their self-absorption with problems and complaints was an irritant for me.

Until it happens to you.  Lots of times there is a domino effect, with illness following illness.  The doctors call this “kindling.”  There can be an overwhelming co-occurrence.  Things can move down hill fairly fast.  And many conditions can overlap. Things cascade into another crisis. But there can be a right way to handle things.

“The moment an ill can be patiently handled, it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Maintaining a spiritual discipleship is an obvious challenge.  Having something even resembling a living faith is pretty hard.  Three things have helped me.  These three doesn’t mean that there aren’t others, its just these are the boiled-down essentials.

1) Prayer–

Things will often turn from bitter to sweet in just a moment. I think of Jesus turning plain, basic water into a delicious and succulent wine.  When He shows up, everything changes– I change.  I need him, His presence isn’t an option.

2)  The Word–

Sometimes a just a phrase, a perceived inflection on the words.  Simple verses, rolling through my heart and thinking create hope, and recharges me through one more day. I realize that these are our promises, for me to call my own.  My enemy who hates me, is afraid when I start reading it. I need to read the Word.

3)  Serving Others–

I can easily paralyze myself with the awful venom of selfishness.  Self-absorbed faith will kill me.  Actually, “brokenbelievers.com” has been a way for me to recover. (I’m sitting here writing from the cozy confines of my loft in Alaska— on a beat-up old laptop.)  It has been a necessary thing.

Each of the three listed above work better when you mix and match them.  Take prayer and combine with the Word and they will strengthen each other.  Sort of a synergy happens, and things will come together for you, for one more day.  And that is just how it seems to work. It’s a pretty good start, anyway.

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