Thomas and Peter were on a mission to rescue savage souls, the plan being to convert them to God-fearing believers. Arriving at the remote village to which they'd been assigned, they were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the natives with warm enthusiasm. Tribal dancers festooned with brightly painted masks put on an amazing show for their guests, then led them to a rough plank table laden with fruits and vegetables, next to which two huge cauldrons of soup sat simmering in the fire. An old man who was apparently the chieftain presented Thomas and Peter with gourds filled with some kind of fruit nectar, then lifted another to his lips, motioning to them to do the same. Both men found the nectar to be delicious and drank it down eagerly. That night there was much feasting in the village, bellies that had long gone hungry were now round and full; Thomas and Peter were never seen or heard from again.
"Desiderata" was penned by American writer Max Ehrmann in 1927. I first encountered it in the early 1970's in poster form, and was immediately drawn to it's message. Over the years I have had several copies of the poster that I have given away to others who found it as beautiful as I do. Much of it is now ingrained in my memory and pieces of it often come to mind.
I am intrigued by the fact that the words take on more meaning with the passing years of my life. What I thought was a lovely sentiment way back then, I have since come to fully understand. Desiderata contains so much truth and wisdom!
In many ways Desiderata is the summation of my philosophy. My life has been filled with rich experiences, and despite it's many imperfections I absolutely believe that it is indeed still a beautiful world.
Back in the days when I was growing up girls were usually taught sewing; we learned how to sew from our mothers and grandmothers, and later on in Home Economics classes in High School. Our initial projects were typically quite simple, pillows, aprons and such. My mother wore a cover-up apron everyday as she worked in the kitchen preparing meals and cleaning up, and it was a matter of great pride when I acquired the skills to make her a pretty apron bound neatly in pink bias tape - her favorite color. When that apron wore out I made her another from the same pattern, and then another. I kept my mother in hand-sewn aprons for the remainder of her years. How I wish she was still standing there in her kitchen wearing her apron while preparing our meals with love.
My mother told me long ago that she had asked a fortuneteller if I would ever be happy. "Not in a way that you would understand," was the answer she received.
That prediction weighed heavily on me for many years as I slogged through nightmarish circumstances and relationships that threatened to destroy me. I often wondered if I would ever be happy; it seemed impossible that I would find a way to be free of the restrictions on my life.
It took a full half-century of living to realize that my unhappiness was largely caused by making poor choices, taking the same wrong turns and making the same mistakes over and over again, yet incredulously expecting things to work out differently from the last time.
At long last I chose a man and a life that were in keeping with what would nurture my soul, and in doing so I learned what happiness truly is... it is being content with what you have and at peace with where life's taken you.