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Monday, October 20, 2014

Peace in Silence

"Better to remain silent 
be thought a 
fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."  

~Abraham Lincoln~

A friend of mine who lives in England recently mentioned the poem Desiderata to me and this really sent me to thinking more and more about it.  I have pictured here an old framed copy of the poem that was hung in my parents' bedroom in my childhood home and it is one of my greatest treasures.  
Though many believe the myth that Desiderata was first found in 1692 in Old St. Paul's Church, the truth is that is was penned in 1927, 
by American Writer, Max Ehrmann.

"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...
Be gentle with yourself."

As I ponder the words in this poem hanging in my parents' bedroom where they could refer to it often as they raised six children, I truly believe that the legacy my Mom and Dad have left behind is mirrored in this old poem.  Desiderata was inspiration in their daily path.
In a 2012 interview, actor, Morgan Freeman expressed how deeply the message in Desiderata had shaped his life.

As a fifty-something woman, I am continually seeking signposts and guidance, not only from our God and His Word, but also through those who have gone on ahead of us.  I also find much wisdom in the written word, as is so beautifully illustrated here in Desiderata.  I can only hope that, like my parents, my legacy will reflect some part of this beautiful message written by Mr. Ehrmann, when my dear Father was a seven year old boy.

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


  1. Hi 50 something. What a beautiful post. Ever since I discovered the poem a few weeks ago, I use parts of it in my daily meditations. It is helping me to find deep peace and contentment.
    Thank you for posting x

  2. HI freddy and thanks for letting me know about the impact this great poem has had on your journey!