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Thursday, November 16, 2023

Gratitude, Acceptance, Wisdom by Joan Reeves

This year has passed faster than all the others, or so it seems.

It's been a year of learning acceptance of loss, of change, and of reality.

At the beginning of the year, I announced on SlingWords, my personal blog, that the only thing I wanted this year was just to be happy each day.

I'll admit that was more challenging than I imagined, but it made me think each day of reasons to be happy which resulted in my focusing on gratitude and what I have instead of what I lost.

Gratitude Is Everything

As the holidays approach, I wanted to share something with you that I've read many times in my life. It's full of wisdom that fits today as much as it fit the 1920's when Max Ehrmann wrote it. It's called the Desiderata—Latin for "things desired."

I first read this in the hippie era when I was a teen. I thought it was written by a contemporary poet from my touchy-feely generation. Taht was when I bought a plaque that had the Desiderata laminated on it. The truth of what Ehrmann wrote inspires and comforts.

I've always hung the plaque on a wall where I notice it every day. I find myself reading it when I feel troubled. This poem is now in the public domain so I'm reprinting it below. 

Copyright and Public Domain

This is a cautionary note for Authors. Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) who wrote and first published the Desiderata in 1927 forfeited his copyright of the material because of free distribution in several projects. Read the Wiki that contains the full story of how it lost its copyright status and became part of pop culture.

DESIDERATA by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or 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 in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.



  1. Thank you. I remember DESIDERATA from many years ago. It still is so applicable to today for all of us. After seeing the devastation in Ukraine and Gaza, we Americans have a lot to be thankful for this year.

  2. "It's still a beautiful world." What an excellent reminder. Nice post, Joan. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks, Liz. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


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