Friday, July 15, 2016

July 15, 2016 A Letter That Might Have Been: That Cold November Day and Desiderata

Dear Mom,

I now know how you must have felt when all of a sudden your letters to Grandmother began only with “Dear Mother”. This is not an easy letter to write. We were all so frightened when we learned about Dad's fall on that rainy autumn day, but we weren’t at all surprised when we learned that he was out tinkering with the car at the time. That was something he always loved doing. I don’t think we realized how serious his situation would become.

I’m so grateful that we had such a good visit with him in the hospital the night before he died. Remember how he was as jovial as ever and we laughed when the nurse came in and told us he’d been singing Yale Glee Club songs to them!  I didn’t think our conversation that night would be our last,  but I find comfort that we were with him until the end.

Dad would love that we all walked together to “the glade” as you call it. He chose a wonderful poem to be read, didn’t he?  I know how much he loved that poem and he believed that it provided gentle wisdom in straightforward, uncomplicated terms. I think he was right.

    Desiderata by 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)

    This is all I want to write today. I’ll write again tomorrow. 

    Lots of love,


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