The Serenity Prayer
by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Complete, Unabridged, Original Version
God, give us 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.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
What is Serenity?
It is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.
The Serenity Prayer is a very well known piece of spiritual writing that has many versions. It is an important prayer tied to the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. Anyone reading carefully this prayer can see its importance in the recovery process. Now many of us struggle with admitting that the issues in our lives may be bigger than ourselves. Our ego or “little self” wants to maintain control, or at least the illusion of control to keep its self-importance. There are things in life though, which are much bigger than we are. For those who attend A.A. meetings they are among the brave who face their fears, and admit that their addiction is much bigger than they are. My PTSD is bigger than myself, and I admit to God that I really cannot do my healing alone.
The prayer asks God to give the petitioner the guidance to know what he or she must accept, and what things can be changed. Serenity means existing in the present, and finding the joy in moment of the now. Earlier tonight joy meant sitting, Marc and I, being fully present with each other enjoying “Teen Wolf,” laughing and eating chocolate ice cream together. It acknowledges that hardship brings growth, so it may lead to peace. It means accepting your present reality as it is right now, and not has how you want it to be. Most of all serenity means surrender to God, and trust that where ever your journey takes you that things will work out for the best for you.
The world we are living in now is a school where we are learning and growing. It is a temporary home for each of us as our souls continue on after death. We want to enjoy our lives as best we can. If you do not know the depths of sorrow can you really understand joy? If you do not feel pain how can you understand peace? Hardship teaches us compassion, and how to love yourself and others unconditionally. As difficult as some of my life experiences have been I can say that I am learning as I go, and trying to live the path of the heart as best I can. It means having compassion for my emotions, for what happened in my past, and acknowledging I must take things day by day. This love and compassion can be brought to others as I learn to love myself. Unless you learn to love yourself how can you love other people?
As, I finish writing this blog post I would like to say Namaste to all of you. The Indian gesture that goes along with the greeting has the greeter touch his forehead where the third eye is then down to the heart, which is followed by a bow. Below you will find the meaning for what the Indian greeting means.
May you all have serenity today,