Monday, November 5

THINGS DESIRED

I bought this a long time ago.
It now hangs in my living room :)
When I was growing up, we had this great-big-long-poem;
it hung in a frame on our living room wall.  
I never read any further than the title, which didn't interest me at all.  
Too bad.  I could have learned a lot.

The framed poem was Max Ehrmann's "Desiderata."

And now?  I read this poem to Sol every single night.  
Its beauty never ceases to amaze me.

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I spent this past weekend with my mom, daughter, sisters, and niece, shopping in Ann Arbor. We arrived home Sunday evening.  I dropped all my bags off in the middle of the living room floor (where most of them still are, yet to be unpacked), got Sol ready for bed, grabbed a couple books, prepared her bottle, and continued on with our nightly routine.

She lied there in my arms, legs kicking around in her little sleep-sack for no reason than just to kick, her chubby little hands holding her own bottle to her mouth, her ever-chameleonic eyes gazing up at me.  I finished Goosey Goosey Gander, finished The Snowy Day, and went on to wrap up our evening with Desiderata.

Profound as it is, with its brilliantly raw, honest words, Desiderata is my daily reminder to focus on the beautiful and important things in life.  And tonight, between the lines of Ehrmann's life lessons, I hug Sol close and say a silent prayer of thanks for the miracle falling asleep in my arms.  And as I set her empty bottle down and give her a pacifier to keep her content through the night, I think about how greatly she's changed my life.  As I carry her up the stairs, carefully and quietly to avoid waking her up, I consider how peaceful our lives really are.  As I lay Sol down in her crib, with her silky little bunny that keeps her company every night, I wonder what grand adventures I might have someday with this little person.  And as I linger for a couple minutes, I watch her sleep under the soft glow of the lamp nearby, and realize just how perfectly this has turned out.  In our quiet little house, on a cold, quiet little November night, my quiet little daughter is fast asleep and dreaming the sweetest, most wonderful little dreams.  And my heart aches - a good ache - because it's attached directly to hers by some invisible cord, and her sweet little sleeping face makes me melt.

Everything is right in the world.  Everything is turning out exactly as it was meant to be.  It makes no difference whether I realize it, whether I understand it, whether it makes sense.  Loneliness won't last forever.  Tears are just tears, and bad days are just days.  Bad days don't make a bad life.  My life with Sol is exactly as it should be, regardless of whether this is what I had planned.  Whether or not it is clear to me,  no doubt my universe is unfolding as it should.  Yours is too.  Embrace it.

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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 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 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 critical 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 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 careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

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