Character VirtuesHabitsPeaceRelationships

When you lose someone you rethink life

We lost someone very special last week and it really made me think about what is important in life.

Funnily enough, it wasn’t finishing my to do list.

Was I kind to him? Did I listen and give my full attention when he spoke? Could I have been a better person?

What about my remaining family and friends… Am I kind to them? Do I listen and give my full attention when they speak? Can I be a better person to them? I think you can guess some of the answers to my questions.

I now feel strongly that it is the little things, the every day moments – every day interactions – which are actually the most important moments in our lives. How do people (family, friends, workmates, acquaintances, strangers) feel after they have interacted with you?

There is so much busyness, so many actions, reactions, information, and clutter in our lives.

It really made me want to concentrate on a few ‘significant – of service’ things and stop dabbling in a hundred ‘might need some day’ things.

I think Max Ehrmann shared some wise advice in the Desiderata [1].


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.

By Max Ehrmann © 1927
Original text

[1]Desiderata” (Latin: “things desired”) is an early 1920s prose poem by the American writer Max Ehrmann. [wikipedia]

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