Saturday, September 13, 2014


e-qua-nim-i-ty (e kwe nim e ti) n. A personality trait or quality in short supply in these days of 24 hour cable news and talk radio programs.

Equanimity is the capacity, the ability, the quality to remain calm, undisturbed, composed. As much as we would say that equanimity is a thing, a possession of some sort, we also realize that composure is a choice. Remaining calm when everything and everyone around you isn’t, is a choice. We choose equanimity. It doesn’t choose us.

The latest edition of Time Magazine claims to be the “Answers Issue.” Inside you will learn the answers to all sorts of questions, many of which I suspect, never were or ever will be important. But then again, maybe I just need to calm down. At any rate, you will learn such things as: why don’t we get heart cancer? Heart cells don’t divide like other cells in our bodies, so the mechanism of run-away cell division (cancer) will not occur. How do you get a Goldendoodle? A goldendoodle is the offspring of a Golden Lab and a Poodle, a goldendoodle. Exotic crossbreds are all the rage among dog owners these days.

Here’s one I like. There were 1.96 million “likes” for the Facebook page, Just Falafel. Just Falafel is a fast food chain that features the signature sandwich, a deep fried patty of ground chickpeas, stuffed into a pita pocket, known throughout the Middle East simply as “falafel.” The texture, taste and appearance make it every bit as appealing as any hamburger. When you consider that you can find falafel from Italy to Egypt and every country in between maybe peace in the Middle East isn’t a product of diplomacy as much as a function of eating. Maybe we all need to concentrate on feeding the hungry, like Jesus did.

The final question asks: What is the Good Life? David Von Drehle, the author of the essay, tells the story of his friendship with Dr. Charlie White, of suburban Kansas City. Dr. White died on August 17th, his 109th birthday. Von Drehle writes: This rich life endowed him with equanimity, inner peace, Charlie learned to separate those things he could control from the things he could not; he didn’t fret about matters beyond his power. One of his daughters complained once about a certain insufferable someone. You can’t change people like that, Charlie schooled her. If I let people irritate me, he said, I would have been dead a long time ago…

It seems to me—if I understand the article—the secret to a good life, a long life is knowing the difference between things I can control, and the things I can’t. That sounds a lot like something else I’ve heard: Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…


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