One of the most influential women in my life was my mother-in-law, Georgia Garner Griffin. Having had a severe bone infection as a child, she was not physically strong, but she more than made up for it with unending mental and spiritual strength. Not many people would dare, as she did, to teach third grade from a wheelchair.
Even after her son and I divorced, she remained a kind friend to me and a loving grandmother to our children. I’m still sad I missed her funeral due to a delayed flight. I think of her often and sometimes find myself asking, “What would Georgia do?”
Among the many pearls of wisdom she passed along to me is The Serenity Prayer by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr ~
“God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
the COURAGE to change the things I can,
and the WISDOM to know the difference.”
This simple, but powerful, prayer has provided me a calming resolve on many difficult days. It has encouraged me to let go of worrisome things over which I have no control (namely, what other people say, think, and do) and focus on empowering things over which I do have control (what I say, think, and do).
The Serenity Prayer is so common, it’s almost a cliche. If we were able to continuously manifest it, we would truly reach enlightenment. Of course, we’re human, so living these words takes constant effort, leading to constant supplication.
At times, my humanity forces me to draw upon a different version of this prayer. When tested, I encourage you to recite it with a dash of Georgia’s good-natured sense of humor ~ Lord, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to not grow bitter, and forgiveness when I occasionally snap.
“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr (author of The Serenity Prayer)
Think On These Things ~ Alicia