NOVEMBER 21, 1951
PARIS, Tuesday —I promised to tell you about my two days in Holland at the meeting held under the auspices of Queen Juliana.
I arrived on Friday evening and was shown to my room in the huge palace. I had a historic study and bedroom and hoped I would not be imagining ghosts during the night. We hurried at once to the reception rooms where those who had already spent one day there were gathered. I met a number of the guests that night and the next morning at breakfast, and found that I was in a group of serious people, who were honestly searching for help to meet the problems confronting the world today. At 10:30 in the morning everybody met in the old castle, which was the first building on the estate. Here the tower dates back to the 11th Century.
The address Saturday morning was by Dr. H.T. Fischer of Utrecht, who spoke on the nature of faith. He talked in English as did all the other speakers and each gave a summary in Dutch. I wondered how many among us in the U.S. could go to a European and give a lecture in a foreign language.
After lunch each lecturer answered written questions for about an hour and a half. During both the morning and afternoon there was time to walk about on the grounds and talk to people individually. Dinner was at 6:15 in the evening and then everyone gathered in the big rooms in groups for talk and discussion.
It was Saturday evening before I began to get my first real understanding of what lay in the minds of the organizers of these meetings. A Mr. Kaizer explained that he believed all human beings must first accept the attitude of humility. This acknowledged that alone we were not capable of finding the right answers to our own problems in the world of today. We must realize that only God could know the answers and must try to establish an attitude in ourselves that would leave us open to receive guidance from God.
Mr. Kaizer said that the organizers intended to form no organization, to come to no conclusions, to reach no answers, but they felt that if there were a few people in the world who surrendered their will and accepted guidance that great changes might come about in the world. That is a humble attitude I think all of us could accept very quickly, for I'm sure none of us feels, in the face of today's problems, that we can be sure through our own power of finding all the answers.
But at first I felt that it was almost arrogant to expect to establish with the Almighty a direct and conscious connection. I had a feeling, too, that Mr. Kaizer was impatient with anyone who did not agree with his particular beliefs and convictions.
On Sunday, however, before leaving, I had a talk with him and found that he had a simpler and, in a way, a more childlike attitude of faith. He did not feel, of necessity, that everybody must be always conscious of receiving guidance, but that many of us must do our best and hope to grow in faith and inspiration.
Dr. J.H. Jaarsma of The Hague spoke on Sunday. He told me beforehand that his theory of the general medical practitioner was that while using the best of medical knowledge one must not forget that the patient was a whole person and that spiritual contact was as important as medical care.
All that was said by the speakers and the questions answered will be printed and sent us, and I shall read them again with great care. There is much idealism evidenced by this group and a striving to grow in spiritual strength. For those who bear heavy burdens, it is easily understandable that they make an effort to obtain all possible help on higher levels. I feel that all of us who had this opportunity have much to think about and I have not ruled out the possibility of some dangers, which are evident and must be thought through. We are not all capable of perfect honesty with ourselves and with others.
(WORLD COPYRIGHT, 1951, BY UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE, INC. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART PROHIBITED.)
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] Paris (France)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 21, 1951
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
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