Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why Worry...

When I was a little girl, my grandmother taught me two prayers that I carried with me my whole life; the Our Father and the Serenity Prayer.
I have kept these two in my heart for years. The Our Father, we all know is a prayer and we are aware of where it came from. I say it regularly and enjoy speaking it aloud, at church, with my congregation when our pastor leads us.
The Serenity Prayer, has a history too, and say what you will about where it came from , who first came up with it, and what it’s really used for but I just say it’s my saving grace, and has been since I was a teen.
After saying the Serenity Prayer, tell me who could not just let go of some things in life that are not worthy of their time? Tell me who, after really listening to the words, could not relax a bit and allow God to take over the things that are not in their control?
When my children would go away with their father for visits, they would be 2100 miles away for 6 weeks at a time (per a custody agreement set in another state), my friends, co-workers, teachers and acquaintances would ask me, ‘How do you manage…I would be so worried!!!’
I’ve been a worry wart all of my life…And a something as close to my heart as this one was difficult to bear. My children mean the world to me and to be unable to kiss boo-boos, tuck them in at night and see to their needs; I was a mess, believe me.
But, I had to go back to the Serenity Prayer, because the worry alone was eating me alive. I have seen over the years that worry is a terrible waste of time, since a) many of the things I’ve ever  worried about are things that are out of my control and b) most of the things I worry about never happen.
By using the prayer and the logical thinking that goes with it, I was able to live a healthier while my children were gone, because I was not always stressed and consumed with fear and anxiety.
From what I gather, history says that Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the Serenity Prayer for a sermon in 1934 and later the prayer was used in Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step programs. Regardless of its roots The Serenity Prayer has by far helped me to identify things that are worthy of my time and that I have some control over (and can take action on) vs. things that I have absolutely no control over and shouldn’t waste time on.
Here is the Serenity Prayer:
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 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.
This is a short poem that is similar to the Serenity Prayer and is another way to say the same thing:
(Solomon Ibn Gbirol wrote of the need to distinguish between the possible and the impossible and to accept that which one cannot change.)
For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it
If there be none, never mind it.
Have a wonderful day, and hopefully it will be one with less worry.


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