A Prayer and Things Desired

Yesterday while looking for a particular book in my personal library and I came across another hardback not opened for years titled “The Desiderata of Happiness:  A Collection of Philosophical Poems by the author of Desiderata Max Ehrmann*”.  I read the first half dozen lines of “Desiderata” and recalled how much I like that old poem.  I remembered the title means “things desired” in Latin and made a mental note to come back and read the whole poem in a little while.  I never got around to it.  

Although I purchased the book solely for “Desiderata”, yesterday my attention was absorbed by another piece by Max Ehrmann that I don’t believe I had read before.   

A Prayer

Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may I
not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times. 

May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on the
margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly
with myself. 

Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
 I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.

Oh, how those words rang true in my head yesterday.  I find it fascinating that when my heart, mind and soul is open to receive, what I need almost always comes to me.  So was the case with the accidental discovery yesterday of Ehrmann’s “A Prayer”.    As I stood and read, I got goose bumps from how well the words were the precise poultice needed by me yesterday.  Even today typing those words here I am touched just as much as when reading them the first time eighteen hours ago. 

In absorbing the meaning of Mr. Ehrmann’s words there are reminders of what I believe in and value most.  I am especially fond of the last eight lines about being grateful for my life as it comes and for what it contains.  What I want does not always show up, but what I need usually does.  All I have to do is be genuinely open to receive what comes and be grateful for it.  

The journey is the reward.  Chinese Proverb 

* Max Ehrmann was an American writer, poet and attorney from Terre Haute, Indiana who lived from 1872 until 1945.  He is most known widely known for “Desiderata” he wrote in 1927.  Go here to read it: http://www.lordtonymackenzie.com/desiderata.html

2 thoughts on “A Prayer and Things Desired

  1. Amen
    The great thing about feeling deep, profound, earthshaking love is that you can start with anyone.

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