Proverbs for today

Article in Stretton Focus, June 2019

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible urges us to seek for wisdom and understanding: without which we are likely to make shipwreck of our lives.

The search for wisdom is a continuous requirement: and if there are proverbs addressed directly to our own day and age, we should avail ourselves of them.

One such set of ‘Proverbs for Today’ is called Desiderata, which is a word meaning ‘that which is desirable, because it is needed’. It begins by advising us to ‘go placidly amid the noise and haste’ which seems to be part of life in the world today.

Moving ‘placidly’ means radiating an aura of peacefulness wherever you go: so that people will feel it in your presence; hear it in your voice and see it in your face.

We are urged to avoid loud and aggressive persons, for they are ‘a vexation of the spirit.’ It tells us that ‘comparisons are odious’ and that the one essential requirement is to be true to yourself. Discipline will be needed, but be gentle in your exercise of it and grow old gracefully!

The deepest truth of all lies in knowing that each one of us is ‘a child of the Universe.’ If you want to know who you are (and who doesn’t!) you can rest quietly in the belief that you are already ‘at home’ that you are indeed a child of the Universe.

The Universe has produced you; it is on your side; it has given you life, and it is providing for your needs. Ultimately you can’t get lost because there’s nowhere else to go! We should all develop the art of being ‘at home’ in the universe that we live in.

Those who want this truth in religious language, can substitute ‘God’ for the ‘Universe’ (they are both only words, anyway!) Wisdom lies in the truth that words can only point to: and Desiderata is pointing to our deepest need of ‘being at peace with God, whatever you conceive God to be.’

Donald Horsfield

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