The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


NEW YORK, Sunday—A friend of mine has just sent me a prayer by John Oxenham, a British poet. It is a very beautiful prayer for older people, or for people who have spent themselves so greatly that they fear not to be able to give their best in their remaining years on earth:

"Lord, when Thou see'st
that my work is done,
Let me not linger here
With failing powers,
A workless worker in a
world of work;
But with a word,
Just bid me Home
And I will come,
Right gladly will I come,
Yea—Right gladly will I

* * *

I have always felt that one could have a certain sense of resignation when people die who have lived long and fruitful lives. My rebellion has always been over the deaths of young people; and that is why I think so many of us feel particularly frustrated by war, where youth so largely pays the price. It seems as though youth was so much needed to carry the burdens of peace.

A friend of mine, however, not long ago said something to me which may be comforting to many other women. In speaking of her young son, she remarked that what she wanted for him was that he should feel that he had fulfilled his mission in life; that if he had not spent himself during this war fighting for the things in which he believed, he would feel empty. If he died and was not here to carry on in peacetime, she would still not rebel. She would know that to have denied him participation in the great adventure of fighting against the forces of evil, so that the forces of good might have an opportunity in the future to grow, would have left him warped and unable to carry on the battle for a better world in peace.

* * *

Of one thing I am sure: Young or old, in order to be useful we must stand for the things we feel are right, and we must work for those things wherever we find ourselves. It does very little good to believe something unless you tell your friends and associates of your beliefs. Those who fight down in the market place are bound to be confused now and then. Sometimes they will be deceived, and sometimes the dirt that they touch will cling to them. But if their hearts are pure and their purposes are unswerving, they will win through to the end of their mission on earth, untarnished.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]
Other Terms and Topics
  • War--sacrifices during

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 7, 1945

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.