My Grandmother’s Words of Wisdom

Marjorie JamesIn my grandmother’s keepsakes, which my mother in turn has preserved, is a 17th century nun’s prayer. Of course, this may or may not have come from the 17th century, nevertheless, it spoke to my grandmother and is therefore precious to me.

Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of other’s pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint – some of them are so hard to live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

And, as my grandmother would have said, Amen to that.

9 thoughts on “My Grandmother’s Words of Wisdom”

  1. This is a really beautiful prayer, Mary – even for the non-religiously inclined. 😉 I find the last paragraph especially touching and humbling.

    In my own grandmother’s passing, she leaves behind many things – but her love and faith seem to stand the tallest. I hope to find a way to honour that – like you and your mom honour your grandmother.

  2. That’s a really beautiful prayer, Mary – even for the non-religiously inclined. 😉

    In my own grandmother’s passing, she leaves behind many things – but her love and faith seem to stand the tallest. I hope to find a way to honour that – the way you and your mom honour your own grandmother.

  3. Mary, Thank you so much for sharing this. Grandmothers and faith; both inspire us, and together, they convince us we can do anything.

  4. Loved the wisdom in the prayer, Mary. It serves as a road map for aging gracefully. The challenge is to memorize it and, then, of course, to remember it as we go. Thanks for sharing!

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