Reflections on the Serenity Prayer - Part 2
Perhaps you have never journeyed past those first three lines of the Serenity Prayer. That is understandable, most of us are still seeking the Serenity, Courage and Wisdom of which those lines speak. But, as the words of the prayer continue they actually lead us toward the fulfillment of these aspirations.
The first step toward serenity is living in the day. This seemed easier when we were younger. I often hear my children say, “I can’t wait until…” However, it seems their minds focus quite easily on the moment once they get into an activity. For me, this focus on the moment can sometimes be difficult. How about you? Are you distracted by that to-do-list? Do you see unfinished, or even un-started, projects around your home that cause your mind to wander? As you are stuck at home in this time of quarantine, is your head full of work thoughts?
Take the challenge to open and enjoy the best GIFT of all, TODAY. How? Maybe you need to write down all those items on your list, identify the few that you actually can or will take care of today, and put the rest in safe place for another day. Once they are written down maybe your mind will be released from the compulsion of thinking about them incessantly. Ask yourself this morning, what is really important about today? What special opportunities does this day present that I don’t want to miss? What one memory do I want to relish when I put my head on the pillow today.
That last paragraph sounds a little self-centered in retrospect. Who will you be with today? Perhaps today you will be alone. If so, then that last paragraph says it all for you. Some of you, like me, have the blessing of sharing the day with family. Right now it is just the 8 of us. Don’t forget to consider what others have on the agenda. This is a good time to remember that life together calls for some planning together. What are some landmarks on the schedule that we all need to recognize as important? Let’s do this day together.
It turns out that no matter how hard we try, we can’t actually predict how every moment of every day will be spent, especially when we are together with others. Even harder than living one day at a time, is enjoying one moment at a time. I confess this struggle. Sometimes moments happen, especially when you have children. As parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, our calling includes the ability to read and respond to the moment. As the preacher says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. As adults we sometimes speak this to children, “Straighten up, this is no time to act ________.” Likewise, our children often express in less explicit terms a desire for us to act in response to their needs. “Lord, help us hear the needs in their growing hearts today.”
Finally, the last line this morning makes the following claim, “The road to peace is paved with hardship.” Peace is a desirable destination, but couldn’t we have just followed some yellow bricks or good intentions to get there? I suppose not. The prayer teaches us that personal peace is not dependent upon environmental peace. Rather, if we want to find peace, we have to figure out how to process the world around us in a healthy way.
It seems time to come back to an important point. These words are a prayer, not a mission statement. Mission statements require humans to develop action plans and do the work required to accomplish the mission. However, praying the prayer is the plan. Prayer is meant to change us from the inside out. Prayer is the opening of our heart to God, opening the door and allowing the Master to change us.
Do you want to find serenity? Repeating this prayer daily, mulling over the meaning of a few of the words each day, is a great plan of action. Sitting in silence for a few seconds as the prayer marinates your soul, then making some small commitment for the day is all that is asked. Have a blessed day filled with joyful moments remembering that all the hardships you face give you an opportunity to grow and find a greater peace…
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