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.
Most of us know by heart this part of the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, or, at least, we are familiar with it. But did you know there is more to the prayer? The rest goes like this...
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.
One of the perks of aging for me has been finally reaching a point in my life where I can actually accept the things I cannot change, live one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time and find peace through the hardships. That hasn't always been the case for me.
I have spent most of my adult life dealing with some type of chronic pain. When you have to deal with health problems starting at an early age it is easy to become bitter or resentful; envious of those who can do whatever they want. Others may have dealt with hardships differently, but for me, my journey has taken me through several stages of acceptance, or, should I say, non-acceptance.
Stage 1 was shock. But I'm too young!; how can this be?; I don't believe this!
Stage 2 was denial. Maybe if I ignore this long enough it will go away. I'll show you I can still work all day, go to the grocery, cook supper and clean the kitchen before I go to bed.
Then when my body and my stamina wouldn't let me do all that I hit Stage 3 - anger! Along with the anger came self-pity. Why me? My life is ruined! Not another surgery! When will it end!
Once I finally worked through the anger along came Stage 4 - embarrassment. I knew I had 3 different doctors that had told me I couldn't work a full time job anymore, but I didn't look sick. What would people think? Would they understand?
Stage 5 is what I call my "Academy Award winning" stage, or, the OK....but stage. This is when I finally began to accept my circumstances and my limitations, but, I didn't want everyone feeling sorry for me. This was where the acting came in. When you live with pain for so many years you develop a pretty high threshold for pain, making it easier to hide it from others. Problem is, you get so good at hiding it that you begin to believe it yourself and tend to overdo in order to keep up with the charade. Bad idea. I really pay for my mistake afterward.
Finally, through the grace of God, I managed to reach the final Stage 6 - acceptance. At this point, I have finally found peace in accepting and dealing realistically with my life as it is. No longer making excuses, just knowing who I am, my strengths, my weaknesses and my limitations. Once I was able to come to terms with that, I was able to move forward as a happy, productive person. No matter what hand we are dealt in life we all have areas where we can shine and feel useful. I am so blessed and have learned to be thankful for what I can do rather than regret what I can't. I have found my peace.
Until next time...that's my view.
Written for this week's GBE2 prompt - peace.