It’s been a long week and I find myself crawling towards the homestretch. Dawn is breaking, and I crave both energy and serenity alike, a spiritual dichotomy that leads towards restlessness. Once again I seek the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer and this time in Portuguese:
Deus, dai-me serenidade
Para aceitar as coisas que eu não posso mudar
Coragem para mudar as coisas que eu posso,
E sabedoria para saber a diferença
(translation by Jose Thomaz)
For those who prefer the Spanish version:
Señor, concédeme la serenidad para aceptar las cosas que no puedo cambiar,
la valentía para cambiar las cosas que sí puedo,
y la sabiduría para reconocer la diferencia.
(translation by Merce Riba)
And of course the German version:
Gott, gibt mir die Gelassenheit Dinge hinzunehmen* die ich nicht ändern kann,
den Mut Dinge zu ändern die ich ändern kann,
und die Weisheit, das eine vom anderen zu unterscheiden.
(*NB: in some versions “akzeptieren” is used instead of “hinzunehmen”)
I have always relied on the shortened English version, although there is an extended version that rather like as well:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference,
living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
taking this world as it is
and 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. Amen.
Regardless of which version you take and in whatever language, these are powerful words to help calm the raging storms within, especially when you find yourself at the threshhold of something life-changing. At the end of this blog you will find two earlier entries based on the Serenity Prayer from 2018 and 2019. I re-read them and shook my head at the realisation of how far I have travelled in my emotional journey since. There is no doubt that I am in a much better place, having learned countless invaluable lessons along the way.
I have been accused of many things in my life, especially by those who expected me to remain obediently within the box and colour inside the lines, but I have embraced it all and turned the tables around, using all the accusations and humiliations as stepping stones. I simply cannot change that which refuses to budge. This is a lesson I learned, ironically, from my two pet geese I had the privilege of living with back in my India days – Bill and Hillary. Reject my writing and photography, and you reject a fundamental and integral part of my soul.
In closing, because Friday necessitates a generous amount of humour, and because we are all aging, here is a final version:
The Senility Prayer
Grant me the senility to forget people I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into those I do,
And the eyesight to tell the difference.