Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Serenity

I had the chance to reflect on a poem I memorized as a child. It used to hang on a plaque on the wall directly across from the toilet and I'd read it every time I would use the washroom. Little did I know then how much the words, how much that prayer, would help me as a teenager and adult. Even during the days when I wanted nothing to do with the Lord I would say the prayer, omitting the word God from it. And while I left Him out, He was still there to answer my simple prayer in ways I could not, and still don't, understand.

I'm sure you are familiar with it, or at the very least have heard of it.




On the off chance you can't see the image above, I'll type out the words:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can;

and the wisdom to know the difference.

What I wonder, is if you've ever really thought about those words. Off and on over the years I have. I mean, I know what the words mean, but do I *really* know what the words mean.

There are a few especially important words that really stand out to me in this. Accept. Courage. Change. Wisdom.

Accept - receive willingly something given or offered; tolerate or accommodate oneself to

Courage - a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear

Change - an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another

Wisdom - the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight

I'm not quite sure where I was going with this post. I do know I recite this often and that it has meant a lot to me over the years. I guess I just wanted to encourage others to think of what this (and other phrases, poems, verses) truly mean to you. Do you just say the words or do they have a deeper meaning. Is there something that you say over and over that helps you that you'd like to share, post it in the comments.

Here's something else I found while looking for the image above:


You should be able to click on the picture to go to a site where you can read it, but just in case you can't I'll type it out below:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can;
and the 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.
Amen.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

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