Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Prayer for Later Years

Happy faced moon- March 18, 2010

A while ago I talked to a young nurse who is now working at the hospital on our unit. We were discussing her co-workers and I mentioned a very capable older nurse who was working on her line.

The young nurse said, “ It isn’t nice working with someone who knows everything and makes sure things are done her way.”

I am about the same age as the older nurse and have worked long enough to know a lot about my job. I wondered if anyone thought my attitude toward less experienced staff was that of a “know-it-all”. Several of my co-workers are the age of my children and it is easy to act like a den mother around them.

Empress of Dirt blogger, Melissa (she inspires me weekly) did a recent post featuring framed quotes which are on her mother’s bathroom walls. (Bathroom walls are a good place to hang things you want to think about. We had a calendar hanging in front of the toilet when I was a child and I learned to count by 7’s just by looking at the numbers every day...)

One of the frames held this prayer which is found in several variations on the internet. Its source is unknown although in some places it is attributed to a 17th century nun in England. I don’t think Catholic nuns were very welcome in England in that century so doubt this is true. Whoever penned these works was very wise. I should hang them above my office desk or opposite the commode so I will think about them every day.

This was my favourite version.

A Prayer for Later Years

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old.
Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit
of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs.
With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom,
it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it.
But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others;
help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains --
they increase with the increasing years
and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint --
it is so hard to live with some of them --
but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy.
Let me discover merits where I had not expected them,
and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any.
And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.



  1. I have a slightly different version of this hanging by my desk.I like this version as well.Thanks for the reminders.

  2. I think it is so awesome when people hang framed prayers in their homes. They surprise me sometimes when I find them in the washroom and it just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Can't explain it. I'm working on a set of those for my own home, and I think it's going to be just awesome. :)

    Love the prayer for tomorrow, but perhaps the most important prayers are the prayers for today: Lord, be my moment-by-moment supply of grace TODAY. :)

  3. Thanks Ruth. That's a good prayer for me to remember as I get older too.

  4. This has always been a favorite of mine... thanks for the reminder.

  5. Mexico Mom.10:32 pm GMT-4

    Love this! Remind me if I get out of line.rupsher

  6. That's a fine prayer. It can be very beneficial to hold one's tongue.

  7. That is a fine prayer and reminder! I've been catching myself, trying not to offer too much advice! I could see it wasn't really welcome and have determined to keep a lid on it ... so this comes at a good time.

  8. This is a lovely prayer, which I have copied, and will place nearby as a reminder to mind my p's and q's a tad more!

  9. Beautiful and most appropriate for those of my age. I love it.

  10. Amen to that sister!
    The bathroom is a great place for meditation.

  11. As one of your "children" at work, I must say that you are the best person to work for/with. I have never thought of you as someone who looks down on others or wants things her own way. In fact, just the opposite. You are always respectful of everyone, and easily approachable, despite your experience in the field. I thank God I work with someone special like you Ruth :)

    Oh, and I think I could even start saying that prayer now in my twenties! Ahhhh- I am going to be one of those crabby seniors who has too much to say!

  12. Thanks for the comments. You are so kind Holly. I am glad you are back, even for a short time.

  13. I love this Ruth! So much truth in it.


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