Advent will be over when you read these words, but their hope-filled message transcends any season or embraced beliefs. My head kept a ceaseless, rhythmic nodding as I read these sentences and whispered, thank you, Eleanor, and yes, me too, and then I smiled as I finished her final prayerful request.
Eleanor Roosevelt had a habit of writing on her hands, those very hands that had clasped the hands of thousands of haves and have-nots, kings, queens, and common folk alike, my mother’s included when they exchanged greetings at a small town gathering. Perhaps the seed thoughts and personal, nuanced words for this prayer were etched or scrawled between the lifelines on those same palms. Whether they were or not, and I like to believe snippets were, Eleanor Roosevelt’s favorite prayer touches my soul’s yearnings, and so I share her words with you.
Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of the world made new.
—-Eleanor Roosevelt, in The Treasury of American Prayers
image courtesy of praying hands abstract