Saturday, January 22, 2011


Reading a friend's blog post this morning about inner strength when facing life's challenges made me think of one of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt. She epitomized grace under fire. Here's the highlights of the challenges she personally faced in her lifetime:
  • Eleanor was married to a man who suffered from the paralyzing polio disease, yet ran and served in public office first as governor of New York and later as a four-term President of the United States.
  • She served as First Lady during two historic crises in America's short history -- the Depression and World War II.
  • She also served as the first chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, while facing criticism about her abilities to lead and form a Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • She was often the lone public voice speaking out about unpopular social issues, such as poverty, civil rights, and women's rights.
  • She had six children, one of whom died at birth, and maintained a marriage in spite of FDR's adulterous affairs.
  • It was also rumored that she was a closeted lesbian due to her long-term friendship with a female reporter, however that has never been proven.
Eleanor once said:
A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.
Well, she was definitely a strong teabag. Eleanor inspires me daily to keep facing life's challenges with determination, compassion and humor. While she may not have been a beauty -- something she was publicly ridiculed for -- it is rare to see a photograph of her without a huge smile even during her darkest days. I'm grateful that the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial included this tribute to her, honoring her mission to improve our quality of life, as well as her inner strength which helped carry this country through crippling economic crises and war.

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