Emerson’s Ghost

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February 25, 2008 by 8junebugs

Came across an Emerson quote I hadn’t seen in a while and felt like sharing:

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.

Very appropos right now, when kindness and forgiveness are much on my mind. I like the “affections of children” part–kids are smart. We should follow their lead more often. And I can only think of one time when finding “the best in others” led me down a path I’d rather have avoided. Even then, it didn’t damage me, other than to make me a witness to the damage people can do to each other. But as much as you feel sorry for someone and can see how they got to be so mean-spirited, being around them just isn’t healthy.

I don’t know if I can leave the world a little better than I found it, but I can say that someone has breathed easier because of me, and that is uplifting. It’s only O+ blood, or one weekend a year on my feet, but I feel better knowing it’s something.

I have also sung exultantly. But it’s been a while.


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