This is a favorite of mine by Max Ehrmann. It used to hang on the wall of our laundry room and was a reminder of peace growing up.

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 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 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 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.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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10 Responses
  1. Lizzie

    Just I was crying in another black hole. I checked my email and saw this.
    Thank you . It came as I needed it as I beat myself up about moving house to find a better life. An obsession of mine. The thoughts if only and I have done it all wrong. And another hope dashed that the new antidepressants
    Keep me awake all night.
    I want to be well for my family and I want to invent a tardis so I can go back and put right mistake.
    But I can’t but maybe I can accept that I am having a bad day .
    Thank you for these words that bring me comfort.
    Lizzie xx

  2. Lydia G. Ellis

    I have always loved this! Thank you for sharing! Another one that many men like is “If” by Rudgar Kipling.
    I personally want to thank you for sharing your history, information & journey. You have inspired me to get the help I have needed. Again, I can not THANK YOU enough!

  3. Popsy

    This is my favourite. I first came across it 15 years ago when I was hospitalized for mania. Another patient shared it with me and she had obtained it from the non-dominational chapel in the hospital. This poem spoke to me in such a significant way and ever since I go back and read it when I need it. It is very comforting. God bless you Therese, I hope you are well.

  4. Elizabeth

    Yes, this is very inspiring. This is the very first time I read this. I’m so grateful to my dear friend Eileen for be so thoughtful and encouraging by shring this with me.


  5. Debra

    My Mother’s favorite poem. She died when I was seventeen ? the poem as her death reminds me we’re not owed or guarateed another day. Enjoy the day your given and be kind to each other?Strive to be Happy?

  6. Lyn.B.

    Dear Therese,
    I too love Desiderata, & had only ever known it to be anonymously written, & known to be found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1693. The words are absolute wisdom aren’t they? Thank-you for sharing it with everyone.

    I actually have a copy of Desiderata !!, which I would love to share with you & everyone else, but it’s a bit long Therese & I’m not that good on the computer. If you can get back to me with tech’ advice, I will happily forward it on to you. Sharing such words & reflections are integral to healing….Bless you Therese, you help so many people.

  7. Dana

    What a lovely and appropriate poem. It’s just what I needed to read this morning. This season is such a mix of the fun, the sacred, and dark shadows slipping under the door from the past.
    Thanks for your work and for posting this poem.

  8. Ron Barrett

    Hello! Glad to have found your site again!
    I have listened to, and read, “Desiderata” since it first came to my attention on the AM radio stations of the late 1960s. I have had posters, greeting cards, wallet cards of it, and it is currently in my Bible, and saved on my YouTube.
    I’ve forgotten the whole story, but when it first became public, it was said that the author was unknown, and it was found in St. Paul’s church in Baltimore.
    Those words have been a balm to me for many years now, and have helped to ward off, or at least weaken, the ‘beast’ more than once.
    I greatly appreciate your ministry, and look forward to your posts!!