The story of Agnes Bojaxhiu, the Albanian Roman Catholic nun who became, rather more famously, Mother Teresa, is a testament to selflessness and devotion. When we think to complain about the difficulties of our lives, our struggles, our doubts, and our feelings of insecurity and uncertainty, we can look to the supernal example of a woman who left her family, her home, her country, and every comfort to care for “the poorest of the poor” in Calcutta. That she became an unstoppable force of one, untiring and unceasing in her efforts, is more than an inspiration: it is proof that the world can be changed for the better. This poem - “Do it anyway” - was discovered, so the story goes, written on a scrap of paper tacked to the wall of her room.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies;
If you are honest and sincere, people may cheat you;
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten;
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
The original poem was written in 1968 (by a Dr. Kent Keith), and Mother Teresa made some amendments, the most notable of which may well be in the last line. “It was never between you and them anyway.”