I really liked Valerie Schultz’s post yesterday at America’s In All Things blog.
So although I am not technically in recovery, I find that going to meetings twice a week seeps into my brain. I see how following the Steps can lead to a saner, more serene life for anyone, not just an addict or an alcoholic. Besides, we all have our addictions and shortcomings. “Keep coming back,” the men say in unison. “It works if you work it.” I can see how that would be true.
I spent a few intense years in 12-Step groups in my second and third years in ministry. I was especially fond of an Al-Anon group that met on a weekday lunch hour in another town. Small group. No cross-talking. I learned a lot from those fine people.
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.
I struggled then to learn and live the Serenity Prayer. It’s a lifelong project, I’m convinced. Ms Schultz is spot-on with sanity and serenity for anyone. I don’t go to meetings with any regularity any more. I suppose a close woman friend from those 1989-91 days would be surprised. Her ex was an alcoholic, and I think my own fervor with working my program was a threat of sorts. You’re not anywhere close to being an addict or a drunk, she said. Twelve Step work keeps me healthier, I said. More sane. More serene.
Today, I’m always on the lookout for my own indulgences, my own issues, my own little addictions. I observe my urge to gobble food, to stay up a little bit later at night, to sugarcoat my life, to take short-cuts I know will cost me in the end. Some things I cannot change. So why waste energy trying?
A few people seem to think I write on conservative comboxes to “trick” people into being liberals. (somebody hinted at that this week on First Thoughts.) Ha. I’m just in it for the fun. I can’t change anybody. With God’s grace, I can only hope for some small measure of progress in my own life.
Courage to change what I can–that’s my own thinking, and my own behavior … and likely only on my better days.
Wisdom–that’s the key. How to determine what can be changed? Almost never is it something to do with somebody else. Sometimes, most days in fact, the most I can manage is the desire for wisdom. The Scriptures help:
Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her;
one who watches for her at dawn will not be disappointed,
for she will be found sitting at the gate. (Wisdom 6:12-14)