Barack Obama's favorite theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, wrote what's become known as the "Serenity Prayer". He used it widely in his sermons as early as 1934. The part everyone remembers is this:
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.
There's a fuller version, however, which is enriched by being more expansive.
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Of course, you don't have to be a Christian to find value in these words. In the times in which we find ourselves, it's important to remember that some things are beyond our control. We can only do what we can do. And, knowing that, we should accept that we can't, individually, fix all of the world's problems.
We need to keep serenity in our minds. We need to not be so consumed with the world's malfeasance that we become useless. Yes, we need to fight. But we also need to rest. We need to joy in the beauty which still abounds in the world. Once we become monomaniacal we lose the plot. Once we become obsessed, with no time set aside for things which don't involve Donald Trump, we become without utility.
Fight serenely. Struggle serenely. Recognize that you can do what you can do, and you can do no more than that. Others are also struggling with you, and your combined efforts will be what engenders change. Don't become so wrapped up in what you do that you neglect what others are doing. Be as the tai chi master, whose movements become part of his genetic code. Always remember that you're not alone. Draw strength from that.
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