Back on the 11th, Joan posted the Serenity Prayer in it’s entirety. I’m used to just seeing the first part but I really love the whole thing. You see, my father was a drunk that got sober in AA. The Serenity Prayer was a big part of his life and it became a large part in mine. Let me just repeat it here so you don’t have to scroll back to find it:
God grant me the Serenity
To Accept the things I cannot Change
Courage to Change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the Difference
I didn’t think too much about the Serenity Prayer in my younger days. Oh, I knew it but I didn’t apply it. You can know something in your head and it may never reach your heart.
While my husband was ill and I had to tend to him and make decisions and work and do all the things that I had to do, I would “chew at the bit”; not liking that my life was interrupted by his illness. While I wouldn’t abandon him, I still hated the fact that I didn’t have control over my life. Or so I thought. I was going to a counselor and she agreed, I was in a situation that I was powerless over. I had to be vigilant everyday as to what was going on, medical wise, with my husband. My work knew that I may have to leave with a moments notice. I lived my life on the edge all the time. I found that I was always “edgy” myself. Snapping at people and being just generally nasty. I was tired, always. Depression was my constant companion.
While my counselor and I were talking about ways to try to keep my head above it all, I thought of the Serenity Prayer. “God Grant me the Serenity…” Yes, I sure needed that! “To Accept the Things I cannot change…” Now, I’m not good at acceptance. I thought accepting something meant that I had to like it. No, No, NO! You do not have to like something to accept it. I found out that you can say, I don’t like this but I accept that it’s happened or is happening or that it is what it is. “It is what it is” turned into one of my sayings. I don’t fight it, tear my hair out, scream, yell or cry. IT IS WHAT IT IS. Accept it and move on!
The next part is actually harder. “Courage to Change the things I can…” Yup, that’s usually us. We can’t change other people, only God can change other people. Now, in my situation I found ways to get out of the house for a few hours for me. We found home health aides so I could work. These things made my situation better. I prayed and prayed and, even though the situation was the same, it was easier. It’s always easier if you are not pushing back. Changing when changing is needed.
And that brings me to the last part: “Wisdom to know the Difference” Yes, we have to pray for wisdom. What needs to be accepted and what needs to change. Usually, the things and people around us need to be accepted and we are the ones who need to change. This can be the hardest thing of all.
I’ve learned to live the Serenity Prayer, not to it’s fullest, but I understand way better than I did when I was younger. We all need to learn this prayer. It’s a good one to keep, not in your mind, but in your heart.