Having said the Serenity Prayer for many years, this week I’d like to address the first sentence of that prayer. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”
When I consider the words in this sentence, I recognize that I am calling on God; the God of my understanding on whom I rely.
Then I am asking for a grant. A grant is a gift. This may result from hard work and effort, but can also be an unearned blessing.
When I ponder the word serenity, I cannot help but replace the word with some internal state I call undisturbed.
Then the acceptance part. Accepting the things I can not change often leads to further investigation. I am not always clear about this. I need guidance and discussion to sort this out. Sometimes I feel I can change things that are out of my control. More often than not, I must digest this truth. At times it’s a difficult conclusion. But it need not be.
So here’s the work. I must sort through what I am capable of and what I am not. What I can change and what I cannot.
I realize that I cannot control the tides, I cannot control the cycles of seasons, months, or days. I cannot control the ebbs and flows of life. Nor the natural laws of the Universe, like the weather and gravity. I cannot control illness or death. Certainly not other people.
For me, acceptance means making peace with the reality of what is. Once I have clarity, I can move forward from a more empowered position.
After much time using this prayer, I realize that in every obstacle there is a solution, just as in every trauma is the healing of that trauma.
I am curious if you have tried to present some concept of God to your children? Is this God kind? This is a huge plus. If things go awry, can they trust in something besides themselves? Can they rely on the overall goodness of God? Can this help them settle their disturbance when blocks are in their path?
Perhaps, more than teaching this, it helps to know that we do children a great service when they can see our own faith operating in our lives and give them tools for living that are more than just demonstrations of self-sufficiency in action.