Monday, March 13, 2006


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.

The more I follow Quaker blogsites the more I find that in many ways it is like being at Meeting - so often thoughts/concepts will be bumbling around in my head trying to find some kind of shape that makes coherent sense and then I'll find someone else writing about whatever it was, often on a slightly different tack but bringing to light the missing piece of the jigsaw that suddenly makes the rest make more sense. This time it was Amanda's post.

Serenity is something I've aspired to for a long time - probably since first reading 'I take Thee, Serenity' by Daisy Newman. I like to think I'm closer to it but know I've some way to go yet.

I don't do angry very well - I'm far better at upset. Hate has always, thankfully, seemed like a waste of emotional energy so I don't tend to go there. As I've said serenity doesn't always prevail though and I've found acceptance of somethings things harder than others. Well maybe that should be some people... things I'm usually ok with! With people I need to understand before I can fully accept. Until I have that understanding things tend to land by default into the 'things I can change' category, I assume that there must be something I can do about it and not knowing what it is can drive me to distraction, sleepless nights and lots of worry - albeit along with (and I'm getting better at remembering to do this!) holding the situation in the light and asking for guidance. Maybe I should also be asking for patience to wait for the full answer instead of expecting instant results and assuming the first inkling is the whole deal...

Just a week after I arrived in the country I was talking to someone over a meal at the Quaker Settlement at Whanganui and he very insightfully suggested that maybe the lesson I had come here to learn was how to let go. Maybe he was right - I certainly seem to be getting better at it. But I'm wondering now if it is more along the lines of learning 'the wisdom to know the difference' and maybe a creating some kind of 'holding bay' for things, a kind of wait and see box to put things in until I have got the wisdom to know whether this is something I can or cannot change.


Julian said...

This has got me thinking about the theme song from Serenity.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me
Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me
There's no place I can be
Since I found Serenity
But you can't take the sky from me...

It seems to say serenity is something we can find within ourselves, it doesn't matter what happens externally. I see 'the sky' in the lyric as a metaphor for that which transcends, that which is more than us and connects us. It's impossible to take that away.

The audio version is here:

Anonymous said...

Other lyrics of a song entitled serenity:

As I sit here and slowly close my eyes
I take another deep breath
And feel the wind pass through my body
I’m the one in your soul
Reflecting inner light
Protect the ones who hold you
Cradling your inner child
It’s serenity
In a place where I can hide
I need serenity
Nothing changes, days go by
Where do we go when we just don’t know
And how do we relight the flame when it’s cold
Why do we dream when I thought mean nothing
And when will we learn to control

cherice said...

I like the "wait and see box" idea--I think that's definitely a stage in the process of figuring out the "wisdom to know the difference" part.

I also agree about the part about reading Quaker blogs being like meeting for worship. It's cool because we can journey with people and at least know a little of where they're coming from, hear them on a regular basis, and let the Spirit discern what's for us and what's not about their post. At least in most meetings I've been part of, it's more likely that people will not share what they're thinking because it might not be from God. Here there's a bunch of stuff floating out there (at least on my blog!) that's not necessarily from God, but it feels important to share it, and maybe God can speak through it...or maybe it was just important for me to get it out there. It's not a perfect system since we can't really hold each other (as a community of Quaker bloggers) accountable to action, but we can encourage each other and support the Quaker community as we remind one another through the Spirit in our posts that others out there are working on the same things...and that's a really cool supplement to meeting for worship, I think!

Pete said...

This so speaks to a condition I wish I didn't have. My "wisdom to know the difference" has so far been confined to me trying to change what I can't accept, and if it doesn't work, then that's the way it's meant to be so I accept it. Time for a (re)think...