Sometimes, a perfect moment comes along.  It’s so nice when it happens.

The past few weeks have been difficult.  I’m feeling pretty bad physically and work is stressful.  My boss seems to be entering into a “last hurrah” stage.  She’s on her way out but is going down kicking and screaming.  The kids are having some tough times – we’re all blaming Northern February plus mid second semester stress.  Midway through the second semester, it becomes clear that whatever your hopes for the school year, you are on a path – largely irrevocably – to them being realized or dashed.  For a lot of students, this is about when they realize that they are not doing well at all and that it is rapidly getting too late to pull it together and save the year. For a lot of kids, this is when it is clear that academic probation, withdrawal, or dismissal is looming and they have only a few weeks to reverse or correct it – if that’s even possible.  We had two students transported for psych evals last week, one I know closely and I grieved for because my time in college (round one) was full of such turmoil and misery.  A close friend of the student’s had had a suicide attempt and it sent the student – who was already having some difficulties – into a tailspin.

Yesterday, another student who I’ve worked closely with came and found me on my lunch break.  I had gone and hidden out in a less frequently used, private room where we have our dictation software set up.  “I’m eating lunch” I told him warily over a mouthful of sesame noodles.  “I just wanted to use the computer, I can wait til you’re done, it’s ok,” he told me.  He stayed and chatted with me, telling me about a class he’d just left where he kicked ass on a presentation.  “We were supposed to present something for 2 to 3 minutes,” he said, adding that most students did song lyrics.  He chose a poem, and proceeded to recite part of it for me, the rest I looked up.  It is perfect for right now.

    Max Ehrmann  


    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.

    Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

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1 Comment

  1. queenofoptimism

     /  March 1, 2011

    excellent post and you brought back a partial memory – this poem had a place in my life but I can’t place it. I’ll place it in my future. now. thank you.


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