Acceptance, Courage, and Wisdom





I first became acquainted with the Serenity Prayer as a young girl. Alcoholism lived through and through my family, and according to information I’ve just found, the Serenity Prayer was adopted as a kind of anthem prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1942.

My grandmother sometimes brought me to the Al-Anon meetings she attended, and I remember my mother embroidering the prayer, framing it, and hanging it front and center in our home – the first thing you saw when you walked in the door.

Funny how I remember a detail like that. Just now.

Probably because it’s now I need it most.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

There’s no doubt times are tough. For many of us. And for as many reasons as there are people. Your reasons may not be mine, nor the reverse, and perhaps we share some common troubled ground.

But I’m hanging my hope for today and tomorrow on that prayer. On faith. On hope. As best I can, as much as I can, for as long as I can.

I will begin with acceptance, moving forward, and saving all my energy for whatever action is needed. I’ll find the courage to act when I can and and however I should, all the while searching for the signs which direct me to that pathway to peace – fairly certain I’ll be pointed in the right directions as need be. I trust in my own wisdom and the collective wisdom of those I respect, honor, and look up to.

Here’s some suggestions for living out the Serenity Prayer in our every day:

  • Do normal things. One way to firmly plant my feet on the ground at times of trouble is to find comfort and courage in the normal. Change the sheets. Respond to student journals. Bring the recycling to the curb. All regular. All routine. All necessary.
  • Restore order. When I feel anxious, stressed, or like the world’s spinning out of control, I look for ways to restore order in my world. This week that means cleaning out the linen closet and reorganizing the pantry shelves which somehow – as I’ve been preoccupied with other things – have taken on a life of their own. Side note: I’m all set with confectioners’ sugar for a good long while.
  • Alternate self-care with other-care.  Now’s the time to be gentle with ourselves and others. Be on the lookout for ways to be kind, tender, and nurturing. Tough times invariably bring out the very best of us, but we need to be well-rested, well-fed, and emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy enough to be so. Remember to laugh. It’s no accident our comedians are the very first to help us sort through our feelings by bringing us a laugh.
  • Look for opportunities to help.  Because they’re out there.

I’m remembering Mr. Fred Rogers who’s quoted as follows:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

When my family, students, and community members look around, I want them to                  see me as one of those helpers.

  • Share.  Your thoughts. Your fears, worries, hopes, and gratitude. Share of yourself. Your resources. Your inspiration. Your ideas. And dreams. Now, more than ever, is the time to reach out to others. We are not alone.

I started this blog as my personal reminder and an invitation to whomever reads … to hope – year after year. I remain committed to that hope – in what’s left of this year, and the next, and the one after that.

Together, we can.


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