Saturday, June 21, 2014

Accepting Hardships as a Pathway to Peace

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.

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.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

This prayer has seen me through many times of turmoil and hurt. It became my motto, my go to prayer, the year my father passed away. 37 years ago I experienced that first adult realization that we do not have full control of our lives. Even today, the wisdom to know the difference often eludes me. Yet there are also times when the fact cannot be argued. Then I turn to this age old prayer.

There are times when it takes courage to hold fast in acceptance of what is when we cannot change circumstances, but if we can have courage, serenity will be the gift that follows. We can not always know the reasons for the events of our lives. It is hard to understand why angst and loss must be forever on the horizon. Yet without tears of sadness we would not know tears of joy, without sorrow we could not know bliss. And yes, you have heard this said too many times. Now is the time to really hear the words.

Over the years I have come to understand we are all here for a purpose. Some for large, grandiose reasons, others for smaller, more significant reasons. We each have a special skill, a light, or perhaps a darkness to share so others may experience their lessons. Our co-existence is part of the greatest plan on earth. When we have done our part, we are once again allowed to go home.

There was a time I would cry out in anguish, "Why is this happening?" "How could You do this?" Today I read the prayer and believe, "Thy Will Be Done." Thank you for blessing my life with an opportunity to watch a young boy grow into a man. Thank you for blessing my life with his pranks and laughter. Thank you for letting his light shine in my life, if only for a short time. I learned and experienced so much in his presence and even as my heart breaks, a smile creases my lips as I remember his devilish grin and the twinkle in his eye. We could not control you in life, we certainly had no control over your death.

But I share the thought that in twenty years you did more for this world, than many of us who have lived 3 times as long. You gave fully to life, not the rules. You were real, not who others expected you to be. Your choices, helped me to see my own from a little different view point. You challenged me to be creative and open minded. You taught me unconditional love. Thank you.

Now you are teaching me how precious each day is, how quickly events can change what is into something totally different.

So today I ask "Please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to stay in a place of light and love."

With love to all who are missing and grieving for a young man who changed us in ways we never really understood until now. May you feel the blessing of his warm heart holding you in your sorrow.

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