What do we do when the harsh realities of the human condition stand up and stare us in the face? People die. Bad things happen. War is real. People go hungry. Dreams go unrealized. Longings go unfulfilled. In the midst of these realities of the human condition, there is certainly a place for active grieving for that which we hoped for that may never come to fruition. There is also the temptation to wallow in the pit of despair, paralysis and self-pity, cultivating our inner victim and longing for that which may never be. At the same time, we are faced with the question of the Divine call…..when are the longings within us God calling us to a richer life and when are they just another face of our ego? These are all difficult questions and ones that certainly cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. It is at these times that I am grateful for the 12-Step recovery movement for the creation of 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.
This prayer reminds us that we have a Divine Source that can help us through the harsh realities of the human condition and who can reveal to us the path to serenity, courage and wisdom as they are each uniquely required in our very personal journey. As I sat in prayer today with my own bucket of unfulfilled desires and hidden longings, I was acutely aware of my own temptation to cling to these desires and become overwhelmed to the point of paralysis with trying to “figure it out.” Instead, I was invited to give this bucket of tension into God’s loving care. I envisioned giving this bucket of junk to Jesus and saying, “Quite frankly, I’m sick of trying to figure this out…..here, it’s yours. You take care of it!” While I did this surrendering from a place of frustration and impatience, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief as I handed this bucket over to Jesus’ loving hands. I’m sure there will be days where I will try to take it back, but there is a freedom in recognizing that today, I don’t have the answers and giving it to God to figure it out.
So the question for each of us is – Can we, just for today, let go of our own bucket of junk and give it over to God to figure it out?