Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trying To Live The Serenity Prayer

A few days after I turned fifteen, my mother had alcoholic convulsions and was placed in a psychiatric ward. (There wasn't such a thing as "alcoholism treatment center" back then.)

I was thunder-struck, emotionally devastated, with my world thrown off it's axis. I remember sitting on my cousin, Samantha's, bed that night, lost and scared, and her handing me a little coin with AA written on one side and the Serenity Prayer written on the other side. The "hand of Alcoholics Anonymous" had already reached out while Samantha was admitting my mom to the hospital.

God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change
Courage to Change the Things I Can
And the Wisdom to Know the Difference.

That was the first time I ever read the Serenity Prayer and it's been a constant beacon in my life ever since. It constantly reminds me to look at what I have control over - and what I don't.

I fight this a lot. It's the part of me that would like to live in Opposite World where I have no control over my weight or what I put in my mouth, so I might as well stuff as much in as possible!

In Opposite World, I would also have TOTAL CONTROL over other people.

But, no...... I know that ain't so....

Today, I've found myself focusing on the Serenity Prayer over and over. Thank God I have it as a tool.

God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change...
* The physical, emotional, and spiritual health of my children. I have to remember they are all adults now. Any control I ever thought I had is long gone now and it would be inappropriate and enmeshed to try to recreate it.
* My regular oncologist appointment coming up in three weeks. (I get an early start on the dreading.) I can't control a recurrence of cancer. I can just pray for the strength to deal with it if it happens. And it's stupid to get my worry on this early!
* Tyler's safety on his trip to Florida over Halloween, my most dreaded holiday. Again, he's twenty-five, not eight.
* The fact that my dog, Mo, is old and his eyesight and hearing are going. My job is just to love him and nurture him for the rest of his time.

...the Courage to Change the Things I Can....
* What I put in my mouth.
* What I put in my brain.
* The pile of paperwork at work that I keep trying to escape from rather than go through.
* Whether I spend the day as a sitter, or a mover. Today, I chose to be a sitter.
* How and when I reach out to other people.
* My missing tooth.

For some reason this missing tooth has been bothering me terribly today. It's been this way since I was 38! I COULD go to the dentist and have it fixed rather than planning and scheming about smiling with my mouth closed so no one will see.

...And the Wisdom to Know the Difference.
Sometimes this is the hard one. But today it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what I can fix and what I can't fix. Now, I just have to put legs on my prayers.

Love you,

1 comment:

  1. Jen: I was lead to your site through Cindy Livington's post. Just back today from my 6 month oncologist visit. NOBODY who hasn't done this sort of thing can really appreciate what it feels like to go through the many days of low-level anxiety that precede these visits. I'm in there with yah, babe. I got good blood test numbers and clear CT scans and you will too. But for the next little passage of time, until you hear that wonderful news try to keep repeating, "Just THIS moment, Just THIS moment, Just THIS moment." I'll be looking for your good news post :)! Pat Roberts (6th grade teacher your first year at Mountain. Three year colon cancer survivor)