Desiderata by Max Ehrmann is a 1927 prose poem. "Desiderata" (Latin: "desired things")
13. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
We know that misfortune happens. We cannot anticipate misfortune or it wouldn't be a misfortune. Misfortune most often happens unexpectedly, suddenly. Misfortune is defined differently for each of us. If not defined, at least considered. Misfortune is bad enough. Sudden misfortune, however you think of it or define it, can be crippling. I've been there. At times, I go back there.
I go back to remember and celebrate that I have a story to tell. I go back to nurture my strength of spirit. As long as I'm living, I believe that I will need strength of spirit in order to continue having a story to tell. So, I go back there. I don't stay long. Just long enough.
In writing this, I'm doing some reflecting and asking myself “How have I really applied this instruction to my living?” This is what I would like to share with you.
Over the years I've developed a spiritual regimen, my “wholesome discipline.” Full disclosure, I began this out of necessity; not out of ritualistic obligation or curiosity. That is to say, my spiritual regimen is deeply personal. it was nurtured out of the drama of living - out of grief and abandonment; testimony and gratitude; desperation and redemption.
I started nourishing my spiritual regimen years ago with the basic, generic religious and spiritual input. It worked for quite a while. Nonetheless, as living kept happening, I could see that I needed something more potent, more effective for me.
I think this is a normal progression that comes from our spiritual growth. We become encouraged to push for a higher understanding of our spiritual life and its power.
I started experimenting in creating my own spiritual regimen, developing my own special customized formula with consciously selected attributes. My spiritual regimen now included everything I needed. And since it's an ongoing process, I could add whatever I needed to strengthen my spiritual regimen. I was perpetually customizing my shield for protection.
We all have the freedom to customize our spiritual regimen to strengthen our shield.
My spiritual shield has been rigorously tested in battle. When the battle came, my shield was positioned for protection. It took a pounding. It was holding up well, but more needed to be done to protect myself. At some point in time, I realized that I had to use my shield more effectively to protect my exposed areas. I knew where they were and doing this would improve my shield's effectiveness.
We know these hard fought battles. We have bruises and battle scars that are slowly healing. We come out of them changed. We know that we're stronger in some areas, but feeling like a mistreated neck bone (as my husband would say) in others.
However, the overall feeling is that of a conqueror. We're feeling blessed because now we have another reason to be thankful; another story to tell; and, graciously, more spiritual nurturing to do.
Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts?
Dedicated to my sons Jibri and Chris, my privilege and blessing. EcwmB