Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eleanor Roosevelt

Rarely has anyone so bold emerged from such a timid beginning.

Last night a 2.5 hour documentary on Eleanor Roosevelt aired on my local PBS station. I hadn't planned on watching, though I knew it was scheduled. I told myself I already knew that story.

I happened onto it by accident, though, turning on the TV just as the program was starting. I was fascinated through the very end. And not so much by any new facts I learned, instead by watching this woman transform.

She moved from dreadful shyness to become the most powerful woman in the world. And it didn't happen in a smooth easy sweep. Nor did she transform herself into a different sort of person. Instead, she took herself, as she was, out into the world and kept doing the best she could: for human rights and equality and the easing of poverty. The effects of her work continue. So does her example, made more powerful by the fact that it was never easy.

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