I'm not a religious person; faith has always been something that eluded me. That doesn't mean there aren't certain Christian aphorisms I find appealing.
One such is the Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
I like it because of its existential underpinnings, something that has always appealed to me. I've only recently started taking a conscious effort to live under the principles of existentialism, and I don't know that I even understand it fully. What appeals most to me, though, is that the responsibility for my life lies solely with me. With the Serenity Prayer, we are asking God to grant these things, but the serenity to accept changes, courage to make changes and the wisdom to tell the difference comes from within.
Some of you may have noticed that it has been some time since I've written anything, and what I have written may have seemed … off. If you hadn't noticed this, you probably haven't been as distracted as I have over the past month, and I'm happy for you. Usually, when I go through stressful times, I take up pen and paper, or to the word processor, to make sense of things. Much of these scrawlings will end up in a piece somewhere and no one is the wiser.
Over the past six weeks, though, I've not felt like writing; but now that I'm out on the other side and had some time to think about all that has happened, I can get back to work. If you are expecting a narrative of all that has gone on, you can stop now. I can't impart that because I am only a minor character in much of what has gone on in the past six weeks. I have been the witness to events; the impact on my life remains to be seen, but like the Serenity Prayer says, I'm looking to find the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. And a lot of this I can't change.
There are many things I do control, and anyone who knows me may think of me as a control freak. The truth is that I love control and I do not lack the courage to make changes I can make. For the most part, that control I exert is over my own life, but there are certain responsibilities I have to my family, employer, and to the public through my role as a journalist.
What I strive to do is live my life authentically. Each day, we all make millions of decisions; most of which are minor and inconsequential and done with little thought. We may come into the office every morning and say hello to everyone and go about our day. But we may not say hello to one person in the office because that person made us angry last week, or maybe she is racist, or a homophobe. Regardless, we determine that our anger is such that we won't say hello. Here's the rub, to be authentic, to live my life in a manner which is true to me, I have decided that I want to be friendly to people regardless of how other people treat me. So, to be authentic, I have to say hello to those who make me angry. It doesn't mean I have to agree with them, but just that I will be courteous.
There is no higher moral authority telling me to be friendly other than my own desire to live an authentic life. It's not always easy.
So, for those of you traveling along through constant existential crises, thanks for sticking along. For those of you waiting patiently for my next fictional work, the writing of my next book has been hit and miss lately. The good news is that I will soon let loose a long, short story called “All Hail King Jerry the Greeter! King of Walmart!”I'm working out some formatting issues, but it should be available in the next couple of weeks.
See you all in the new year!