Many years ago, probably about thirty, I came across something called “The Serenity Prayer”. Now, I’ve never been big on prayer, but this one offered a message that I liked, and seemed to reflect the way I live, so I liked it. I happened to mention to the gal that was my wife at the time, and she picked up her Tri-Chem kit, and made me a framed version, in Spanish, that I had hanging on my wall for many years (until my new wife found out who had painted it, and it was immediately retired… I guess she got a different message from it than I did).
For around twenty years, I never realized that the Serenity Prayer wasn’t as obscure an item as I had thought. Seems it’s some sort of creed for Alcoholics Anonymous. It kind of struck me funny, to think of all the folks that had sat in my study, enjoying a bourbon & branch, while admiring it. Many asked me what it meant, and between sips of George Dickel, I’d tell them. I have to wonder how many of them knew that prayer’s origins, better than I did, and saw the irony of someone like me having it hanging prominently on his wall.
This is a plain version of it, in Spanish.
Translated, it says:
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I’ve always lived the spirit of that, even before I ever saw the Serenity Prayer. I just figured that wasting energy, worrying about things I couldn’t change, didn’t pay off. Of course, like a lot of folks, it was the Wisdom part that sometimes threw me off. I HAVE been known to beat my head against the occasional wall. That’s usually when the George Dickel would come in handy.
My wife is one of those people that lets things eat at her. She worries about the economy, the violence in Mexico, political corruption and the weather. In between, she frets over anything else that she finds troubling. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate ignoring those things. First, they do affect us, and second, we can change some of them, albeit only a tiny bit at a time. I just don’t figure that losing sleep over how much money some politician is stuffing into his personal bank account is going to make me any more prepared to rail against it tomorrow, and it certainly isn’t going to change it any, between now and then. I find it more productive to focus my efforts on those things that I can change. I also don’t lose any sleep worrying about my wife losing sleep… I can’t change that either. No sense in BOTH of us being bleary-eyed tomorrow.
It just pisses me off, to find out that AA had it before I did. Maybe what REALLY pisses me off is the fact that my father in law was a member, and now, every time I see that thing, I think of him!