God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
This popular prayer was originally written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.
Although it has been expressed using several different combinations of words, the original idea behind it always remains the same. It represents a simultaneous recognition of the strength and the limitations of will. The serenity prayer encourages us to engage in careful evaluation of the supposed obstacles we will encounter. It reminds us of the immense power we can have when we try, and tells us not to forget that for some things, even immense power is not enough. As the world that we have built and grown in dismantles and rearranges itself around this crisis, we are reminded that the control we believed we had over so many things was a mere illusion, and that we took for granted some of the things that we truly did have control over. This period is one for cultivating the last line of that prayer. It is for learning to identify the parts of this new life that we must accept and for discovering the areas where we can channel our will to make a difference.