In Recollection of Particular Sundays

Beyond a wholesome discipline

be gentle with yourself

You are a child of the Universe

no less than the trees and the stars.

~Max Ehrmann (1927)

For those who’ve never actually read Desiderata in its entirety, the first line of the section above is often omitted when it’s used for inspirational quotes.  I find that this functions to give people tacit permission to behave badly, to be emotionally lazy or selfish, to not try. That galls me.

It was over a giant bowl of pho in an unprepossessing Vietnamese restaurant along Albuquerque’s main drag that a familiar stranger showed myself to me.  The pho was destined to become leftovers, christened “Ralph,” and between one moment and the next, this man defined as gentleness what most people perceive only as an unyielding brand of strictness in me.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s