Seniors: What Happened to Serenity?

Apr 28th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

A formula for serenity was offered up long years ago.  There are various historical theories as to its origins.  Most know it, at least that portion of it that speaks of the elusive serenity we all desire.  Some can quote it.  Others at least know where to find it in order to call upon it in not so serene times. 

For those who wish to have it quickly available, I offer its inspiration here:

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.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Unfortunately, many, if not most, do not seek, with any intention, the practice of cultivating and nurturing serenity.  We are, as I pointed out in my frustration article recently, met with so many bombardments that test our having a serene attitude. There are some who seem to come by serenity either naturally or with great discipline.  They seem able readily to find the motivations that prompt serenity and they practice them with ready results.  It really takes no discipline at all to give into frustration and anxiety.  It seems very much as if the dreaded spring weeds that populate our gardens and lawns take their signal from frustration.  Both are as prolific and substantial that without much prompting they pop up everywhere.  Damndelions, check that spelling, are physical representations of internal frustrations.   Ridding one’s lawn of those weeds can be as frustrating as dealing with the frustration that comes with doing so. 

Serenity is a quality of learned behavior.  It requires the practice of centering oneself, calming the atmosphere around you, enabling a spirit of quiet and transcendence to prevail. Lacking any of those essential qualities will likely mean that serenity will elude you. 

Giving yourself over to a period of time and a geographical place in which you can be about centering is critical.  Same place, same time every day.  No interruptions.  No temptations to be distracted.  Nothing becomes more important.  Serenity is a vitamin for the soul and a balm for the mind.  It soothes and embraces the whole being.  It readies you for anything that might be met in the coming day.  It allows you to be in charge of the demons that tempt us and would hold our attention.  Serenity is our way of being able to declare ‘out, out, damn spot.”  It is the declaration of our freedom from being subject to slavish attitudes which dispel serenity. 

Today’s assignment, if you will accept it, is to practice serenity until it becomes your natural state of mind and being.



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