Thursday, April 22, 2010


Today, in a dentist's office, I spotted this poem framed on a wall. It's familiar to me--maybe I read it someplace before? I wanted to study it more closely. It expresses many things that are beautiful and inspiring to me.

I guess it's no coincidence that the dentist seemed to embody these ideals--he was so gentle, courteous, thorough, and unrushed. He took time to explain things to us, even making a sketch on a napkin. Unlike the dentist we saw earlier this week, he truly made us feel seen and heard. We left with lighter hearts, feeling that we were in the hands of someone who really cares if Adam gets better.

Good people are hiding everywhere. Later, we stopped at a store. As we parked, I said, isn't this the store where that great lady works in the bakery? Sure enough, as we approached the store, we saw her sitting outside, eating her lunch. I greeted her (even though I've only met her once before, months ago). She looks Turkish, beautiful, generous, and motherly. She wears a black head scarf and makes enthusiastic recommendations about different loaves of bread and how to enjoy them.

The Olive Loaf was delicious.



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