The riddle of the Serenity Prayer explained
It’s amusing and endearing to me that we do not get hung up about knowing someone’s last name in our program, but we do often use descriptors to tell the Bobs, Bills and Daves apart.
The Serenity Prayer has haunted me for almost 60 years. It hung in my aunt’s house and was cause for silent frustration to me as a 10 year old. I read it and thought to myself: 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. This is a riddle—who’s gonna explain how to tell the difference between these two ideas anyway? Of course, I never had the courage to ask anyone about it.
Anyway, I was at a roundup recently where I met my third Larry. Over the weekend, he shared about a hula hoop and it provided some much-needed clarity for me. I asked him if he was okay with me calling him “Hula Hoop Larry” since I don’t know his last name. He assured me this was okay.
Our topic during the meeting was serenity and the Serenity Prayer. Many shared that this was more elusive than accessible, to which I could relate. Some discussed prayer, meditation, daily readings and so on. Larry talked about how his serenity was directly proportional to taking care of himself. He described his boundary as being about as big as a hula hoop if he were standing in the middle of its circle. He said: “All the territory inside the hula hoop is my concern, my business and within my power to change; everything outside of it is none of my business, and out of my control.”
That makes it so easy for me to visualize how to understand the difference between:
– the things I cannot change [outside hula hoop]
– the things I can change [my thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions inside the hula hoop] and
– the wisdom to know the difference [the hula hoop and the connection to a Higher Power]
My sponsor says that taking care of ourselves is a full time job, one we are maybe doing for the first time in our lives. Today I know that I am responsible for keeping that connection to my Higher Power real, consistent and possible. I’m the one that walks away when the connection gets broken. Because of this connection I can learn to choose to love myself, do the next right thing, to see the best in people, and to accept life on life’s terms. All within a little circle of red hula hoop plastic (mine would be red, of course).
This proves to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am a visual learner. I recently heard that Hula Hoop Larry has passed on, to be with his wife Joan. Thank goodness for hula hoops and for the gifts that come from people like Larry, sharing their wisdom in meetings. Thank you all for my sobriety.