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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband underwent multiple bypass surgery a year ago, and he's rapidly falling back into his old habits of working too long and too strenuously. I'm afraid he is soon going to be back to the state of health he was in when he got that heart attack.

He is in his late 50s and is still a workaholic. He is holding down two full-time jobs and, being the perfectionist he is, he tries to excel at both. Forget exercise. He has a stationary bicycle at the foot of his bed that he's had for two years, and it's as good as new.

The reason I'm writing is that some of my friends have told me that you had a poem in your column titled "Slow Me Down, Lord," and I would like to get a copy so I can have it blown up and framed and hung over his desk. He has promised that if I get it for him, he will read it every day and try to slow down. Please? -- "SKEETER" IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR "SKEETER": The poem was written by Wilferd A. Peterson, and I hope your husband can slow down long enough to read it. And here it is:


Slow me down, Lord!

Ease the pounding of my heart

By the quieting of my mind.

Steady my harried pace

With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me,

Amidst the confusions of my day,

The calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves

With the soothing music of the sighing streams

That live in my memory.

Help me to know

The magical resoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art

Of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower;

To chat with an old friend or to make a new one;

To pat a stray dog;

To watch a spider build a web;

To smile at a child;

Or to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day

That the race is not always to the swift;

That there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Let me look upward

Into the branches of the towering oak

And know that it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down, Lord,

And inspire me to send my roots deep

Into the soil of life's enduring values

That I may grow toward the stars

Of my greater destiny.

Hot off the press -- Abby's new booklet, "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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