Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Serenity is the Child of Hope

What to do about the culture of despair? For starters, we might begin closer to home.

There are lots of discouraging things happening in our lives these days. We're losing count of the number of friends who have been laid-off. Friends and family are sick, some seriously so. Bill collectors are learning our names and our 401(k) manager won't take our calls. Much has been lost, and we fear losing what's left.

For a person inclined to mental darkness there is never a shortage of reasons to expect the worst, but these days it's hard for even the merriest of us to keep looking for silver linings. It is tempting to flee our hard lives by focusing on "big issues". To worry about questions like, "What can I do about the culture of despair?" instead of, "What can I do to make our house more peaceful for Mrs P when she comes home today?"

Serenity is the child of Hope, and serenity comes from knowing the difference between the things you can change and the things you can't. I can't change you. I can't change the world. But I might be able to change myself just enough that God can use me to make a difference for someone.

Now that's a change worth hoping for.


Path 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.

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.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

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