…and the wisdom to know the difference

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”

When my Grandma Cary passed away, my mom and I went through her boxes of jewelry. Mom got to keep her beautiful vintage wedding ring and I got a box full of her everyday jewelry. One piece is rather unattractive, gaudy, and obviously cheap. But it is probably my favorite thing out of the whole box. It’s a serenity prayer necklace, the actual gold chain long gone. The front has a pair of praying hands surrounded by rhinestones. When you slide it, the back slides out to reveal a tiny serenity prayer. This week, I brought it with me to visit Andy’s parents in Arkansas. You can infer from that what you will but I think it is safe to assume that it is perfectly normal and unfortunately status quo that we don’t feel quite at home with our partner’s family. I’ve struggled to relax, enjoy myself, and not nitpick innocent people to death in these situations but after 4 years of marriage, I’ve decided it’s time to sit my stubborn ass down and grow up.

A couple of days in, it’s doing the trick. Accept the things I cannot change. Accept the things I cannot change. Say that enough and you’ll find it easier to love people as they are even though they aren’t JUST like your mom and dad or sisters and brothers. (Now is the perfect place to say that Andy’s family is lovely and kind and thoughtful, there is nothing wrong with them and they don’t need to change…it can just be tough as I’m sure some of you know).

The Newtown, CT, shootings have remained on my mind since they happened December 14th. Since everything transpired, there has been a massive debate on gun control. I’ve already blogged about that but my mind keeps coming back to the other important line in the serenity prayer – the courage to change the things I can. Some things should be accepted as they are. We should adapt. It is important to be adaptable because we will never move forward if we don’t. But when do we adapt and when do we change?

Forgive me if I get a little preachy here, but it fires me up a little. I followed the NRA news conference held last Friday with anxious anticipation. Would they support the President? Would they renounce their gung-ho attitude of “MORE GUNS, MORE GUNS”? Or would they spit in the face of the individuals who have had to bury their children this past week? It all played out like a bad spoof. They called for more guns. Armed officers at every school. Armed teachers. Armed principals. Arms, arms, arms.

So…now we adapt? We accept mass violence via firearm in our schools? We accept that that is the new way of life in America? It isn’t even a question – YES, that is what they are asking you to do. They didn’t even use flowery language that made it sound “not so bad”. Their supporters rallied behind them as if it wasn’t ludicrous. Talk about a mob mentality. And remember – these people are ARMED.

It will take an unarmed army of people with enough courage and “wisdom to know the difference” to push back. We will NOT accept such violence as “just the way it is”. This goes back to what I’ve said about God in all of this. Does he ask us to adapt to unacceptable things or does he ask us to be voices of reason and agents of change? If you have a hard time answering that, you ought to stop reading now and go polish your guns. Or pick up your Bible and re-read it. Whichever.

It is time to start asking ourselves the hard questions. Do we accept how things are now? If not, how do we move forward and change? It has been said over and over that this issue is not easy. The solution isn’t simple. Let’s not let that stop us from creating a NEW status quo. One that we feel ok about when we go to sleep at night.

“These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change.”

Using this lens, what issues in your life need to be accepted and adapted to and what issues do you need the courage to change? My hope is that we all might find within ourselves the wisdom to know the difference.

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