When I hear the word serenity two things come to mind. One of them is that Seinfeld episode where Frank Costanza screams out "Serenity NOW!!!!" when he wants everyone around him to quiet down and stop bothering him. That is a really funny episode and of course yelling and demanding serenity never works out for Frank. In stark contrast to the episode of Seinfeld when I hear the word serenity I also think about the Serenity Prayer. It is a prayer that most people know by heart. You often see it on book marks or small plaques people buy in gift stores. Recently my mother gave me a copy of this prayer printed out on a piece of paper. To my surprise it was much longer than I had thought. Most people recognize the first stanza and even memorize it. There is much more to this prayer that may surprise some people. The prayer is written by Reinhold Niebuhr. My mother gave this to me with the instructions to read it slowly every day. And that is what I do. Every morning as I wait for my coffee to brew in the Keurig, I stand at my refrigerator and read the prayer from that paper hanging there. It is always refreshing to start the day asking for this beautiful thing called serenity. Because you see, serenity must be granted. It cannot be demanded as Frank Costanza tried to do on the tv show. You can't force someone to give you serenity. I do not believe serenity can even come from others. It can only come from God. The dictionary defines serenity as a disposition free from stress or emotion. Another definition is the absence of mental stress or anxiety. So you see, these ideas of having a life free from stress or anxiety cannot be given to us by others. We cannot command stress to leave us. I believe that is why the Serenity Prayer is so meaningful. The first line starts out with the words "God grant me....." Serenity must be granted. In all of the turmoil of our lives, even on the lowest days, it is possible to ask God to grant us serenity. I cannot confess that I am always serene. I have had some pretty difficult days since Greco was diagnosed with this brain tumor. I have had days of doubt, depression and even anger. I am human. I choose to start my day each morning asking God for the serenity that is only in His will to grant to me. It is up to me to open my heart and mind and accept that sweet serenity. I cannot just yell out and demand that I have it, I must humbly ask and God will grant it to me. Reading this prayer in it's entirety each morning really helps me to deal with Greco's diagnosis. It helps me accept each day with a renewed spirit and I am comforted. I hope you will read this prayer and also find sweet serenity in each day of your life.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity to accept the

things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can, and the

Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting

hardship as the pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right if

I surrender to His will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with Him forever in

the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

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