Thursday, August 11, 2011


I was walking home from having been stuck, poked, prodded, partially exanguinated in the name of medical research. I was thinking about everything that's wrong and wallowing in the certainty that everything is wrong. I was thinking about how lonely I've been. I was thinking about how I haven't written anything in months. I was thinking about my unanswered emails, my uncertain future, my unsatisfiable unhappiness. I was trying to think of one thing, just one, to be grateful for- gratitude being the only antidote I know for my depression- but kept coming up empty.  I decided there was no hope for it; the world is pain and that is all.

I thought about the words posted on the laboratory wall:

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.

I wanted to remember them. I wanted to believe them.

I was two blocks from home when I saw the sign printed on lemon yellow paper:

Got Thirst?
Visit Ellie's Lemonade Stand. 25 cents
All money to go to feed the hungry in Somalia.

So I followed the signs to a table under a shady tree where two tow haired kids greeted me excitedly.

"You're our very first customer!"

"Well, I am honored."

"We have either lemonade or iced tea."

"Choices? Aren't we lucky here to have choices? I think I'll stick with lemonade."

I wished them luck and as I walked away I could hear them talking excitedly about their very first customer who had given them enough money for four lemonades!

I sipped my lemonade slowly. It was a magic elexir, a sliver of liquid sunshine for my cavernous soul.

I went home and wrote something for the first time in weeks.

- Max Ehrmann

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 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.