I am a bit under the weather today, so, I’m reposting this article. It was initially posted on my blog in January, 2017. The poem “Anyway”, continues to be a source of inspiration for me. This article discusses the true origins of this poem, which is normally attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta. I hope you enjoy this repost.
The Original Article
Today’s inspiration was born on August 26, 1910 as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Macedonia. You know her as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.
There is a “poem” circulating that is often attributed to Saint Teresa. This poem goes by many names: Anyway, Do It Anyway or Final Analysis. In my research into Saint Teresa and the origins of this poem, I discovered this “poem” was actually a sign hung in Shishu Bhavan, Saint Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta.** This sign contained the “Paradoxical Commandments” and the author is actually unknown.
Below is the ACTUAL version of the commandments/poem that was hanging on the wall of the children’s home in Calcutta.**
People are unreasonable, illogical, 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
…be successful anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow
…do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable
…be honest and frank anyway.
People love underdogs but follow only top dogs
…follow some underdog anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight
People really need help but may attack you if you try to help
…help people anyway.
If you give the world the best you have, you may get kicked in the teeth
…but give the world the best you have
The popular version circulating the internet contains two further lines, which were added later, NOT by Mother Teresa. I was unable to discover who added these lines:
“You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.”
Kent Keith, author of the book The Paradoxical Commandments, states the following about the final 2 lines: **
“The last two lines in this “final analysis” version trouble me, because they can be read in a way that is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus, the life of Mother Teresa, and the message of the Paradoxical Commandments themselves. The statement that “it was never between you and them anyway” seems to justify giving up on, or ignoring, or discounting other people.”
My research into this poem turned out to be very interesting. This poem is a source of inspiration for me, a beautiful reminder never to give up. It was enlightening to discover the proper version advocated by Saint Teresa. I hope people do not find it offending or think I am trying to take anything away from Saint Teresa, which couldn’t be further from the truth. My intention was to set the record straight, considering the origins of this poem and hopefully that has been accomplished. The fact that Saint Teresa found it important enough to hang on the wall of her children’s home should indicate its importance.
Now, no discussion of “Anyway” would be complete without the Martina McBride song! ENJOY!