Monday, October 3, 2011


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered
Love Them Anyway
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
Do Good Anyway
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,
Succeed Anyway
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,
Do Good Anyway
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,
Be honest and frank anyway
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight,
Build Anyway
People really need help but may attack you if you help them,
Help People Anyway
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth,
Give the World the Best You've Got Anyway

- Supposedly hung at Shishu Bhavan, a children's home in Calcutta, by Mother Theresa.  The author is unknown.

The above poem was recently used in a service at the UU I attend.  It was done call and response style and created a few chuckles at the 'be honest and frank anyway' line.  I think this might have been one of my favorite parts of the service.  I don't remember coming across this poem before, but it speaks to me, to my choices, and to my morals on a deep level. 

I've long held the belief that giving a stranger a smile can change their outlook on the whole day.  You know those old commercials where one lady would hold a door for a guy, then the guy would save a lady from walking in front of a car, then she would help do something else?  That's the sort of thing I'm talking about.  One little act adds up to a lot. 

Maybe it's not a calling like serving in the Peace Corp, but it is a calling.  Each time, I can feel the crossroads in front of me and I feel a moment of pleasure at serving.  It really doesn't take much either - a few quick steps to grab the door first, picking up the piece of trash I see by my feet, telling the cashier to have a nice day.  Yeah, it sounds like a lot of peace, love, and hippy stuff (and I've never said I wasn't), but this is the way I want to be treated.  I would rather have someone recognize that I am a human being, here in this place, at this moment, than just walk on by.

This is my compulsion to serve.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this poem. I have always loved it because it urges us to do the right thing, even though we realize that whatever success we achieve is never permanent.

    Suzzy & Maggie Roche called it “Anyway” in their Zero Church album and in their live shows told a humorous story about learning that the author is actually a lay preacher, Kent M. Keith, who wrote it when he was a 19 year old sophomore at Harvard University in 1968.