Saturday, August 29, 2009

Vexations to the spirit.

Yesterday, my key fan supplier, Fiona from KDK, was sitting at my desk when I received a call from an irate customer. This customer had ordered a Samsung refrigerator from the recent Megatex trade show last weekend at the Singapore Expo. He was supposed to receive the fridge the day before but it didn't turn up. Failed delivery as our store terms it.

Within the next 30 minutes, which I promised to return a call to the customer, I had to retrieve a copy of the order from the computer which showed "Delivery not yet authorised ". Worst still, the fridge on the order showed a Panasonic not Samsung. ??? Calls to the head office to retrieve the original document indicated a Samsung display unit sold. That meant I had to get someone to physically walk to the warehouse to confirm that the display unit was still there 'cos the inventory on the computer showed zero. Once all these were done, I had to correct the order from the Panasonic to the Samsung fridge and set a new delivery date for the customer and return a call to him all within the half hour promised. Phew!

Fiona was watching all these happen and she remarked that I was really very patient and 'steady'. I only replied to her that I always refused to let all these get me down. These things are simply vexations to the spirit.

"Vexations to the spirit"
is a phrase from the poem "Desiderata" by Max Erhmann. You probably know it from the 70's song "Child of the Universe" by Les Crane. The beauty of the poem is its rich morals and the guidance it inspires. Here it is in full.


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.

Max Erhmann, from Indiana USA, wrote this poem around 1926 and copyrighted it in 1927. Around 1959, the rector of St Paul's Church in Baltimore used this in a compilation of devotional material. It became widely circulated without attribution to Max Erhmman and thus a misconception came about that it was found in Old St Paul's Church and written in 1692, the year the church was built. The copyright was renewed in 1954.

1 comment:

  1. Wat a coincidence....just the other day I was wondering where I could find a copy of Desiderata...the song version by Les Crane as you pointed out. Din know it was an extract. I prefer this longer version. Thks and have a vex-free day!....steph