Until a few months ago, I didn't realize there was more to the serenity prayer than the first few famous lines. An OA member shared his story last night and also handed out copies of the prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. He had recited it by memory the first time I'd heard the whole thing.
Here it is:
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.
The "reasonably happy" line hit me in the gut. I'd had a rough afternoon, and was mentally lamenting all the sh*t in my life that was getting me down. Having the conversation in my head, why can't I have "x" or why can't my life be "x."
Then I read the reasonably happy line.
Am I reasonably happy? Of course I am. And then some. My problems are first world problems.
And of course, "hardships as the pathway to peace" isn't easy to swallow either. I'd rather have a smooth pathway to peace.
Neither is "taking this sinful world as it is, and not as I would have it." I have spent most of my life trying to control *my* world and making it into what *I* think is best. Letting go of my control issues and letting others live their lives is something I've worked on in therapy, and I'm getting better at it, but it's still a challenge.
After learning about the rest of this prayer, I think it's a shame that most of us only know the first small part. Those first lines provide comfort; the rest of the prayer challenges us on a much deeper level.