Thursday, June 25, 2009

“Serenity Now!”

“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.”

I’ve decided the serenity prayer could answer many of life’s problems. It is often used in AA meetings and other 12-step programs to overcome addictions and repair broken lives.

There are things we cannot change. We cannot change the way we were created, including our face, body shape, and personality. We cannot change our heritage, either our family or our past. We cannot change the actions or feelings of others. We cannot change the weather or the natural laws of the universe.

There are a lot of things that can be changed. We can change our appearance. We can choose our attitudes and our actions. We can choose to make peace with the past, forgiving others, and making up for our mistakes. We can influence others to do what is right. We can plan for the unexpected.

How do we know the difference? That can be harder. I am sure I could have plastic surgeon sculpt my face and body into what I would consider ideal, except for my height. Even if I could afford that, I’m not sure I would do it. I respect my body enough not to subject it to non-health related surgery. I may try to lose weight to be healthy and fit into my clothes better, and wear make-up to soften some of my features, but for the most part, what I have is what I have to live with.

I am very fortunate. I like my family, both the one I was born into and the one I started with my husband. Some people aren’t so fortunate. Some have had to suffer abuse, neglect, or abandonment at the hand of people who were supposed to love them the most. Nothing can change what’s already happened. They have to accept these things as part of their lives, even part of who they have become. They can, however, choose to break the cycle and live their lives with love and respect for others.

No matter what my circumstances, I have to rationally accept that today, they are what they are. No amount of regret or wishing is going to change that. I can move in a better direction, or I can stay where I’m at. I have to have the courage to make positive changes, to grow. Because when something’s stagnant, it just stinks.

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