A good friend is celebrating their 20th year of sobriety. As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Serenity Prayer has helped them to stay the course. The prayer was believed to be first published by Reinhold Niebur around 1941 and adopted by AA in that same year. It is a prayer that has something for each one of us:
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.
Feeling helpless when it revolves around you was the point of my last entry. Today, my perspective comes from watching things happen to other people and there's nothing you can do to change it or keep it from happening. You try to be supportive, you look for the opportunity to assist or help, but, we have to watch the situation unfold; waiting to determine how we will respond. Feeling helpless seems to be something we will have to contend with throughout our lives.
One of the toughest aspects to having a disability, regardless of the cause, is that moment; that situation when you find yourself being totally helpless. I have experienced myself and observed others that no matter how much you curse and carry on, no matter how much or how hard you pray, it doesn't matter. You have reached the dead end. Nothing you can do about it. Period.
The question then is: What do I do now? The answer, of course, depends on what I will term here, your "oh--oh" moment. [language curbed for sensitive eyes] Spill your hot coffee on you or someone else? Lose bladder control? Jab the cat with your cane? Fall on the floor?
While it is impossible to have a plan in place for all helpless moments, it is worthwhile to play the what if game. What if I spill coffee, pee my pants, jab the cat or fall on the floor? What would you do? Ask your spouse, caregiver or friend to put themselves in your shoes and find out how they might approach it.
Those helpless / oh--oh moments do occur more often than I would care for. However helpless the situation may feel, it is not hopeless. How will you handle yours?
"By this all men will know you are my disciples…" John13:35
Learning to love one another as we love ourselves is the first step in being a disciple. Loving one's self requires accepting and understanding who you are and where you are. If you are doing a poor job of loving yourself then you will certainly have difficulty loving your neighbor. Being created in the image of God has nothing to do with flesh and bone. We are more than our mortal bodies. We are more than a disease or condition. We are spirits that will live in eternity. Learn to suffer with grace and to strive to become better and not bitter.
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