Sometimes we just have to smile, if only to ourselves, when “the universe” – which I call Providence – conspires to give us exactly what we need. Yesterday that happened at Peace House. You may remember Peace House from my post on January 30. It continues to send those “zingers” and cut through the crap of life in ways that keep me coming back. One thing I love about the people there is their transparency, directness and honesty. They don’t have the money, means or “sophistication” to disguise or hide the truth of their lives.
Yesterday the ridiculously popular Serenity Prayer came up in group meditation. A woman shared a version that was new to me:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
Courage to change
The one I can,
And the wisdom
To know that’s me!
Another woman said, “Hell, I don’t have a problem with sobriety. The hard part is living with serenity!” Isn’t that the truth for many of us? Perhaps it gets back to the glass half full or half empty idea. How do we see the world? …ourselves? Is our focus on faults and failures or on blessing and virtue? I left wondering what it would really look like in my life if I conscientiously focused on actively living/applying serenity, courage and wisdom for just one 24 hour period. Imagine the effect!
A man also spoke about the second half of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer which had its debut in a sermon Niebuhr preached in 1943. I often find it needlessly prescriptive and theoretical but you really should take a look if you are not familiar with it (cf., http://www.lords-prayer-words.com/famous_prayers/god_grant_me_the_serenity.html)
What really hit home was how I saw my brother live the second half of this prayer in his thirty-plus years of working a 12 Step Program. There were three special lessons, or gems of wisdom, that I take from his living with Alzheimer’s for ten years before his death last June at age 78. Jerry had three mantras – so much so that at times he could drive you crazy with them! ”Thank you, thank you, thank you!” “Life on life’s terms!” And, “Let God!” Yesterday, I was reminded of his source. More significantly, I have seen their truth actually lived.
The simple, ordinary, honest people at Peace House brought me back to these foundational truths… a very good place to start!