When I was a child, my siblings and I attended a couple of Al-Anon/Alateen meetings because of my stepfather’s alcoholism. They gave us this and I’ve always remembered it:
“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.”
Most people have heard that. It’s called the Serenity Prayer. When I heard it in the meeting, it changed my entire perspective on life. I remember carrying the prayer card, they gave to us, around with me for years. Anytime something came against me or I didn’t know which way to turn, I would remember that prayer.
“to accept the things I cannot change”
There are things we cannot change in life. No matter how much we push and beg, there is nothing that we can do. It is what it is and we must accept it. Death is one of those. We can send our loved ones to the greatest specialist in the world, but when it’s their time to go, they’re going to go.
“the courage to change the things I can”
There are also things that we can change. If something needs changing, then we should work to change it and stop complaining. People, I included, are so quick to complain, but so slow to put our feet into action. Without action, nothing is going to change. It’s that simple.
“the wisdom to know the difference”
Then, there is the wisdom to know the difference. Trying to force something to change, that’s not going to change is a waste of time. It will do nothing, but wear a person out and cause them great discouragement. The same goes for not changing what can be changed. In almost everything in life, there is a way to overcome it or to go around it. It may take some creativity, but the answer is there. We just have to look for it.
Those words, when you apply them, can truly be life changing. I hope that you will embed those words in your mind. Then, whenever you have need of them they will resurface for you, just as they have for me, for the past 30+ years.
I give thanks to my Mom for taking us to those meetings. We may not have been there for a good reason, but because of it, we gained a life-long lesson.
Side-note: My stepfather overcame his alcoholism several years later. He is a changed man, a wonderful man. If you’re an alcoholic, don’t give up. You too can overcome that monster.