Last week, when Patrick drove home from choir practice and backed into the garage, I did something bizarre.
I did not suck the oxygen from the car, offer advice, and shriek “Don’t hit the recycle bin!” Instead, I sat in peaceful silence.
And I inhaled a whiff of the exotic perfume of serenity.
It brought to mind the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Inspired by a snapshot of perfect peace, I made a commitment to encounter more moments of letting go, knowing that others are trustworthy to drive and live without my oversight.
So how did I do?
Situation: We met James and our grandsons at Playland Adventures which provides ‘inflatable fun for everyone.’ I wasn’t concerned about Cameron who is five, but I writhed as I watched my three year old grandson mirror his activity. I winced, “James, do you think we should retrieve Max from the Jousting Arena full of eight year old giants? He scoffed, “Mom, he’s fine. With the second child you surrender, and hope for the best.”
Lesson: He is the parent who must deal with concussions and stitches, and I am the grandmother who worries. This is an example of accepting the ’things I cannot change.’ I felt a wave of nausea, and pulled a Carhartt wool cap over my eyes.
Situation: Patrick microwaved a frozen waffle and I asserted, “Do whatever you want, but I find they are better when you toast them.” He replied with a crispy bite of sarcasm, “Can I? Can I really do what I want?”
Lesson: When I say “Do what you want, but….” I am shifting into ‘over responsibility,’ also known as controlling. I’ve heard self awareness is the first step toward ‘the courage to change the things I can.’ I felt a surge of uneasiness.
Situation: I opened the dishwasher, detected a putrid odor, and added a soiled plate. Three minutes later I saw Patrick putting dishes away and bellowed, “What are you doing? Those aren’t clean!” Patrick shot me an icy glare.
Lesson: My husband, who has keen senses, did not mistake spaghetti-streaked dishes for clean ones. He was tidying up the hand washed dishes that littered the counter, proving that one of us has the ‘wisdom to know the difference.’ I felt a flood of gloom and mumbled an apology.
Situation: Patrick drove me to work and stopped at a green light. I clucked, “The light is green, dear. You can go.” Patrick admonished, “Can you see the cars backed up? When the light turns red, I will be stuck in the middle of a busy intersection with nowhere to go.” I sighed, “I did it again didn’t I?”
Lesson: I am spinning my wheels. I felt a deluge of despair, and heard Patrick mutter, “God grant me the serenity…”
But something happened yesterday that gave me hope for lasting change. From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. I experienced tranquility. That is, if you don’t count tossing and turning, a bad dream, and two trips to the bathroom.
Have you encountered detours on your pathway to peace of mind? How do you maintain forward motion knowing you are ‘under construction?’
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