I grew up on a set of books called “ValueTales”. They’re a collection of stories published in the 70’s retelling the stories of famous people from the perspective of a little voice inside their heads, or “invisible friend”. Their little friends are of course, a bit corny, but the stories themselves are solid portrayals of the values built into their character by struggling through the moment by moment decisions of real life. They break down the larger accomplishments of these iconic people, who changed the world, into themes of consistent choices that shaped the people they became and ultimately, the way they impacted the world.
Over the years, those stories randomly pop in my mind as I encounter difficult circumstances.
They filled my little girl head with hope and curiosity and perspective. In the middle of struggles I never knew I’d face, or could even really comprehend, some of these characters and their choices come to my mind. That was certainly the case for me this week. As I walked through a situation that was deeply emotional for me, the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt echoed in my mind.
Eleanor’s ValueTale story is focused on the value of caring.
I love it because that thread of valuing others and caring deeply about their circumstances is clearly weaved throughout all the stories of her life. But it wasn’t a story of soft, submissive caring that allowed Eleanor to change the world. It was a story of deep curiosity. Hers is a story of paying attention, showing up, and doing the hard work, both inside and out.
Eleanor taught herself to look beyond perceptions and do the next right thing, even in the face of criticism.
“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
That kind of maturity doesn’t come overnight.
It comes from a lifetime of little choices. It comes from an openness to look outside yourself and your beliefs. It comes from choosing the wrong thing, and humbly choosing to learn from it. It comes from choosing the right thing, even when you’re misunderstood, judged, and criticized.
As Eleanor showed us, a life of truly caring is worth the daily pursuit.
If you’re in the middle of making some hard choices today, take heart. If you’re in the heat of the struggle, you’re not alone. This is how it’s done. You are becoming. You are impacting your world, little by little.
You’re writing your story and we need it.
to more love,