Take Kindly the Counsel of the Years

Many years ago in a land far far away there was a radio station broadcasting from a ship anchored beyond the territorial waters. The Voice of Peace was forced to broadcast offshore because the Israeli government chose to forbid NGOs from going on air. It was operated by Abie Nathan, an activist and a pilot who once landed a small plane in Egypt bringing a message of peace. Nothing came out of this, but that’s a different story.

Every day at sunset the station played a recording of Abie reading Desiderata. As an avid listener throughout my formative years I almost memorized it. The world would be a slightly better place if people read it, and significantly better if they implement it. I remembered it today while walking placidly in the streets of Milan, watching the relaxed Italians who seem to not have a worry in the world. Salute!

Abie Nathan reading Desiderata

Go placidly amid 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 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 and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your 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 critical 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 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 careful. Strive to be happy.