Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor


on March 17, 2017

I went to the memorial service of a nurse I worked with twenty years ago.

A Facebook acquaintance made me aware of this elderly nurse’s passing.

The Facebook/nurse friend has quite conservative views compared to mine. I did not expect a friendship to be rekindled at the service. I just wanted to pay my respects. Jean was a strong nurse, a presence. You knew when you looked in her eyes that she’d seen a lot. And helped many people.

The service — nothing in particular stood out. I had heard the stories told by speakers who walked to the front. The last song played surprised me. Jean had specifically picked a country tune. I was thinking it’d be Frank Sinatra or another crooner.

So then I made conversation, left the parlor, got in my car, saw a green funeral procession visor tag stuck under my wiper and that’s when it all changed.

In bolder vertical letters on one side of it was the word ‘FUNERAL’. Something in much small print covered the other side. A commitment prevented me from going on to the cemetery and not having to sneak away before the end ( tacky), so I hurriedly placed the tag on the seat and headed down the road.

When I later got home, I flipped the card over to the other side. It was a poem, Desiderata.

I read it

I’m in love with it, not the author; this is not an envy issue. It’s the intent, the instruction is priceless, lyrical and at the same time crystal clear.

I’ve typed it below. The acknowledgment is at the end.


                                                              By Max Ehrmann

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 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 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. 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 careful. Strive to be happy.


I love how this was placed in my path.

18 responses to “Instructions

  1. mikah257 says:

    That comes at such a good time for me, too.

    • Susan says:

      You know there’s that ‘What I need to know, I learned in kindergarten’ poster/poem, and then there’s Desiderata – Just magnificent !

  2. joey says:

    Had you never read that?
    I love it too. It’s a great reminder about the joy of living. My favorite is “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars” — I love it. ❤

  3. Beth says:

    If there is a shred of goodness in our character, we want to live better. Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? Why do we apologise when we have done wrong?

    I particularly liked the part that said, “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 imaginings. **Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.**” Regarding that last phrase, 2 Corinthians 10:5 makes that abundantly clear.

    • Susan says:

      Beth, thank you for the cross reference!

      • Beth says:

        Susan, I have been following you for a while now and really enjoyed the last two posts on your blog, but for some reason I cannot comment. My “like” went in OK, but not my comment.

      • Beth says:

        Let me try one more time from my own blog comments. That seemed to work, but when I went back to your blog and comment from there, something blocked me again.

      • Susan says:

        Hmm, I haven’t visited my dashboard in some time – I’ll check this out!

      • Beth says:

        Today I am having the same trouble with another blog. It must be my account, but who is there to help me solve this?

      • Beth says:

        I can reply here and am logged into my blog, so why can I not comment on your blog itself? I just tried again.

  4. Christy says:

    This poem was on my wall in my bedroom as a teen growing up. My father gave it to me and I loved it. Nice to come across it again. Thanks for posting it.

  5. Susan says:

    You are quite welcome friend!

  6. ComputerBook says:

    Let me try one more time from my own blog comments. Need all the help I can get 🙂

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