I’ve been forgetting things lately. (I’ve been forgetting things for the past three years, let’s be real, but more things, different things lately). I don’t mean things like forgetting to grab toilet paper while at the store (though certainly that happens too). I mean I’ve been forgetting to do my work. Not my job work. I’ve been forgetting to do my self-work. Forgetting is lack of remembering, and I have not been remembering to let things go, to accept life as it is happening, to stop trying to micro-manage my family (Dawn mostly, but this even includes my dog!).
I love weekends (like most people). I love having family time (this past weekend included a cookout with friends and play time at a new playground with more friends). But sometimes weekends are tough for me because I am not in charge. The plan (or lack thereof) is the family’s plan. What we do and how we do it is not up to me exclusively–these things are a group effort. I’m not really the best with group efforts. So much out of my control leaves me feeling anxious and tired all at the same time. And while I think I have gotten marginally better at controlling my outward annoyance, on the inside I’m having a meltdown that rivals any of Levi’s.
People and animals don’t bend at our will, and that makes me crazy. And yet, all I can change in that equation is my reaction to things not going my way.
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.
While I’m not an addict nor a 12-stepper, I can appreciate the idea of the serenity prayer. For years, in fact, I’ve tried to live by this rather difficult concept (hence the need for God’s help, I guess…). However, today it struck me that I have tended to ignore the first and last lines of this opening stanza. I always kind of assumed that last part was a no brainer–of course I know the difference. But now I am realizing there is a hell of lot more going on in life that I simply cannot change, and I’m not always super skillful or efficient at recognizing that. And I will confess that I just went back and changed this paragraph to include the fact that I’ve also always ignored that first line. Who needs God and serenity for all this!? For someone who likes to be right, I am wrong so much of the time. Now there’s an important (and difficult to make) admission.
This post took a kind of meandering term from forgetting things to ignoring things; however, it all has to do with the theme of acceptance and the paths necessary to get to that point. Not only do I need to remember to do my work and remember the underlying concept of the serenity prayer, but I also need to take into consideration the parts of that concept I’ve ignored for so long.