The month of August for Unity of Tampa means we are thinking about the theme of Acceptance. The idea of Acceptance is not a mere passive act. It is the idea that we may face reality and accept things as they are, but not as they may be.
The theme of acceptance brings to mind the inspiration that is found in the Serenity Prayer by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. My father loved this prayer, and kept a copy on his desk. Niebuhr wrote:
Lord, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to try and change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to always know the difference.
Here is the Serenity Prayer Addendum which is my own creation:
Lord: Grant me the gift of gratitude; the gift of serenity; the gift of love for others without strings attached; the gift of stamina and fortitude; to stick to it-iveness that I need to get the job done; to see things that need to be changed and to work hard each day to make the world a better place; the gift of enthusiasm for a cause larger than myself; the gift of insight to feel the pain and empathy to help me heal the pain of others; the gift of learning from my mistakes and humility to admit when I have been wrong; the ability to see things that others do not and then to have the courage to face a mountain and not to give up in despair or walk away when I know the going gets rough…grant me all this Lord, as I ask much from you, so I have much to give….all gifts from you Lord, as all that springs eternal comes from one source….
In speaking of the idea of acceptance, we are also faced with the concept of resistance. With the theme of resistance in mind, I’m thinking of those who are resisting the idea of having to wear a mask during the pandemic. Or perhaps the idea that there is something out there that is working against their interests, to foster lies in the media and throughout the internet.
To resist is to constantly work and struggle against the forces that are closing in. To be a part of the “resistance’ in the past four years has been an admirable cause for those who lean to the left politically. During the Second World War, it was a badge of honor to be a part of the resistance, To resist is to work against accepting the status quo in life. Yet resistance itself is not the goal.
The goal is to find a place where we can accept reality and then work to make changes that will become reality. For example, we can accept the idea that there is a pandemic, and there are some things that we might do to help us recover. We want to be able to roll away the stone of resistance and to work on the things we can change in this world. We then may ‘go forth into the light’ as God tells us to do.
We are all striving for a future filled with hope, as we hear in the passage from The Serenity Prayer. To give us that future with hope, we surely must make peace with our own ideas of resistance, and work to embrace acceptance. The old adage- “It is what it is” – can be turned on its head. It is what it is now…but it is not what it can be….when we embrace God’s future for us that is filled with light and hope.