Go placidly amidst 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 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 with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
My sister had this poem which was on a big poster on our bedroom wall when we were teenagers in the early 70's. I remember it saying that it was written in 1692. It was actually written in 1927 by a poet named Max Ehrmann. The confusion over it is that the Rev. Frederick Kates, who was the rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland used the poem as part of some devotional materials for his congregation in the 1950's. Printed at the top of the poem was the church's name and date of it being founded, it simply said "Old St. Paul's Church, AD 1692". The poem became well known after it was discovered on the bedside table of Adlai Stevenson after his death. (Look at his story here www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/stevenson/html or you can also look at the info on wikipedia.) Once you click on the link above, just type in Adlai Stevenson and that will get you to his information. I always thought he was an interesting man and one that I really admire.
I was reminded of this poem today when I read that studies have been done that show the best thing for people who are suffering from depression is for them to do something for others. According to Sonja Lyubomirksy who is a professor at the University of California, these deeds are "Positive activity interventions" and recommend that it can be as simple as:
1) Being kind to others
2) Expressing gratitude
3) Thinking optimistically
4) Meditating on good things
Can anyone see where I am going with this? Doesn't this sound like what we have learned in church?
There, that is the newest part of St. Simon's church and it is the same rock, but at this angle, it looks as if the rock is laughing at us! Hey, don't worry little guy, we won't bother you, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE!