October 28, 2009

In the comment section of the previous post I made reference to the Serenity Prayer. Routinely, the first 4 lines from this ‘long version’ are recited to open A.A. meetings in this area (and many others). For anyone who isn’t familiar with it…. it helps keep me from sitting on the fence. By using this I’m better able to let go of things beyond my control and get on with the work on things I can influence the outcome of.

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 hardships 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. Amen

This journey in recovery from alcoholism brought about  the process of redefining my identity and attaching once again to ethics, values and ‘humanness’. This prayer has played an important part in my attitudes to others; in being of service to others. The Prayer of St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

What jumps out at you in this? What do you use for your personal guides? Care to share?


autumn rushes


  1. Norm, thank you so much for sharing the serenity prayer in it’s fullness, i think its the first time i have read the whole thing, it is wonderful

    the jumping out bit for me is:
    “taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it”

    taking things as they are, not as i would have them, is a lesson i have to relearn every day!

    the reflective autumnal photo is nice, with the rushes backlit in the sunshine

  2. Glad you liked it Kel and thanks for sharing your thoughts. For more on it’s origin, history and subsequent adoption by A.A. see here: http://www.aahistory.com/prayer.html

    The portion you note here speaks to me of deference to and acceptance of God’s will. Taking the ‘I’ out of the equation is something I have to continue to practice.

    That shot was taken in back of the conference centre – Kingston, ON.

  3. I keep coming across in different forms the whole “in giving we receive” over the past several weeks. I think someone is telling me something 🙂

    I keep realising again and again in hindsight how I was thinking things were a particular way in a particular situaiton and then what comes out of that situation has very often not as much as I would like to do with how strong and capable and wonderful I am being within that situation. If that makes sense 🙂

    I haven’t heard the entire Serenity prayer before either. “accepting hardships as the pathway to peace” – nice stepping stone that one is! I forget it all the time but I guess I am starting to learn somewhat. I keep realising over and over again that what I label things is so very often not what they end up being.

    The pic is lovely.

  4. One of the cornerstones in A.A. is that we maintain our sobriety by giving freely to the newcomer what was given to us…. so in giving we receive.

    Your second paragraph – Not sure exactly what you mean but what I take from it is we are cogs in a giant wheel that continues to turn very nicely, thank you, with or without our efforts.

    ‘Accepting hardships’ is a good meditation starting point for me on a regular basis. (I’ve had to use it more often than I would care to have to, mind you…..)

  5. Some comments from an email from cousin BJ (hope you don’t mind BJ):

    N – interesting that on the anniversary of the day my mother died you posted her 2 favourites….she had the prayer of St Francis and the Serenity prayer hanging on plaques in the house…think the Serenity prayer was in the kitchen. I also have the St Francis prayer in my office – the one that was hers.



    Also, BJ’s email response to my ‘Things Fall Apart’ post was appropriately titled ‘Bloody Hell!’

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