“I just have to ask whether acceptance—or change—is required.” – Daily Reflections
According to Wikipedia, the most common versionof the serenity prayer is the one we say at meetings, but the most well-known for
‘God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.’
The changes to the one commonly heard in 12 step meetings are subtle, but important to me.
First I noticed that in this version I’m asking for grace, which according to my mobile dictionary is ‘a disposition to kindness and compassion’. So I’m asking to be kind and compassionate to myself rather than frustrated, angry or in self-pity over something I can’t change.
Next, I noticed that, in this version, I’m not asking to change the things I can. I’ve always thought that line was odd in that there are lots of things I can change but perhaps shouldn’t (like leaving my job, punishing someone, or picking up to numb myself out). Here it makes better sense by having me ask for courage to change only those things which should be changed. I like that better.
The final part means about the same thing, and is what the quote from Daiky Reflections refer to. But now, with this clearer understanding of what I cannot change versus what should be changed, I’m better prepared to ask for, and receive, direction which best serves my goal of being happy, joyous and free.
Grateful that I’m always willing to learn and grow so that ILML!
PS- Intersting fact: Martin Luther King invited Niebuhr to participate in the third Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, and Niebuhr responded by telegram:
“Only a severe stroke prevents me from accepting … I hope there will be a massive demonstration of all the citizens with conscience in favor of the elemental human rights of voting and freedom of assembly.“