Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
The overwhelming theme of Desiderata seems to be that there is a lot of contradiction in the world. Exercise caution because there is deceit in the world. But, at the same time, seek virtue and the world is full of heroes. It’s a hard to do both at the same time! For me, it is pretty easy to be cautious and easy to expect the trickery – seeing the virtue can be hard.
I’ve been thinking a lot today about what I should give up for Lent: there are tangible things – soda, chocolate, pasta – twitter, Facebook, television – but none of it seems completely right. I don’t know. I think instead of thinking about what I should give up, I need to focus on the heart-change that comes with the sacrifice. I want to focus on being less selfish with my time, less willing to jump to the wrong conclusion or think less of people. I want to see the world through Jesus’ eyes instead of my own. I want to find the good, the virtue, the heroism in the world. I want to put my mind in a place where I can see the good in the world instead of the bad. This stanza of the poem is a great reminder as we begin this season of Lent – there is darkness and trickery in the world, and that darkness wants to blind us to the good, the heroism, the virtue that is ours for the taking.
The world is full of contradictions. And, more often than not, so is my heart. But now, in this time, I can choose to see the good and beauty in the world instead of the darkness and trickery. I will choose to be the best version of myself.