A copy of the Serenity Prayer is posted on my refrigerator. Such a beautiful reminder of the seasons of life.
“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.”
Wisdom was a frequent prayer as I worked in various ministries, raised my son, made life-changing decisions.
But change happened with or without courage. The seasons of life determined new directions, transitions and different pathways. Change has never been my problem.
But acceptance—now that is a different story.
Growing up on the farm, we made do with what we had but if we needed something, we actually made it. Created it from the bits and pieces around us. We changed the situation to make it better.
That work ethic has followed me through life and added to the quality of my life. I have no regrets for changes made, for improvements accomplished, even for risks taken.
But acceptance is not easy for a change-maker. To sit around and just let life happen is not in my DNA. I am always ready to do what is necessary to make a situation better or to at least make it tolerable.
I revise manuscripts until they feel completely right. I add another exercise to my routine to strengthen aging knees and a threatening muffin-top waist. I delete from my diet the chemicals that are harmful. Make the necessary changes.
Even as a coach, my questions to clients include, “What are the action points we can work on this week? How can we move forward and make the changes that will improve your book, help you find a publisher, complete the process?”
Change is easier, because it allows me to do something—anything—to make improvements. But what if the situation cannot be changed? Ever.
I am frustrated and trying to learn how to work through this whole acceptance thing. How can I find the hope needed in doing nothing?
With the help of a gifted therapist and friends who care, I am inching toward the acceptance of Deb’s death. My life has changed and will never be exactly the same. She is gone.
Somehow, I must make peace with how her absence has affected my calendar days and the future we planned together.
As we age, some things must clearly become an accepted piece of life. In her book, “Present Over Perfect,” Shauna Niequist writes, “It’s okay to be medium.”
She’s referring to the size of clothing she now wears. After years of being petite, she now must wear the medium sizes.
My mother has accepted her life in assisted living. She is content living day by day in her safe and beautiful environment. No stresses. No bills to pay. No worrying about the car and the next oil change. Just get up every morning, eat when they tell you to eat and play Bingo.
To stay in hope and live in peace, we have to sometimes let go of the need to change. We have to accept what cannot be changed and know that even within the acceptance—we will be okay.
So change what you can but accept what cannot be tampered with. Then pray for the peace to live within that acceptance and find joy in each day.
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved.
If you’d like to read about a woman who was able to change her life, check out “No Visible Scars.”
“accept what cannot be tampered with”. How challenging and, once reconciled with, how freeing. A good reminder!
Thanks, Jerry. Still learning this lesson myself !