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Grant Me the Serenity…

Do you use the Serenity Prayer? It can work little miracles.

Edward Grinnan and Millie

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.

You don’t have to be in a 12-step program to avail yourself of the famous serenity prayer. It’s the panacea of prayers.

Take this morning at my gym when I witnessed something that upset me. A longtime member was treated rudely by someone who was working out on a guest pass from another gym. The guy with the guest pass was ignoring a simple rule that the rest of us follow without thinking. And now he was mouthing off to the member whose reserved bike he had taken in a crowded indoor cycling class that was about to start.

Immediately my blood was up. I wanted to enter the fray, make a few sharp comments and restore justice to the world. There is no reason to allow bullies to get away with their nonsense. I was good and ready for a fight, and to trade a few well-worded insults if necessary, words that were already forming in my mind.

But I stopped myself. This was not my fight, and there was an instructor responsible for handling these matters. I should just back off.

Ah…easier said than done. I have a righteous streak in me that can quickly morph to self-righteous. I was dying to have my say, especially since the offending cyclist was refusing to relinquish his ill-gotten bike to the woman who had signed up for it online THE DAY BEFORE! I was getting more agitated by the second. Wasn’t it up to me to set this matter straight even if class had already been delayed by a few precious minutes?

I took a deep breath and remembered: Serenity. Courage. Wisdom. 

All right, I thought. I’ll back off. Not my fight.

And incredibly, my outrage faded as soon as we were all climbing the first hill on the virtual race course. Yes, maybe the pain and exertion took my mind off its obsession with Truth, Justice and the American Way. Still, I was amazed that a simple prayer had the power to loosen me from my stubborn compulsion to get involved where I didn’t need to be involved. 

I shouldn’t have been so surprised because the serenity prayer has worked that little miracle in my life for many years now, over and over again, in every kind of situation. And yet…I often need a reminder, a check on my own behavior and motivations. 

How about you? Do you use the Serenity Prayer? If not, you should try it. If so, tell me how it has worked a little miracle in your life.

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