"God, grant me
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."
This prayer saved my life on more than one occasion, even when I was fully agnostic. I didn't know whether or not there was higher power/creator/god, nor did I really care, but when I first sobered up and I read that prayer, it made sense, so I committed it to memory as quickly as I could -- and for an alcoholic like me, that was a hell of a trick and a lot of hard work. Hell, I could barely remember people's faces, let alone their names -- memorizing a super long prayer? -- I didn't think it was possible. And come to think of it, I still can't remember most people's names... oi. Gotta bit o' work to do there, I guess.
In The Rooms, people talk about this prayer all of the time, breaking it down and explaining what it means, etc., etc. That's all fine and dandy -- it is a good thing to do, especially for new comers, I certainly needed it time and time again -- but for this blog, what I really wanted to point was "serenity."
That's what I want, and I don't want much more. Serenity. That's what drives me more than anything, I think. I want the peace and tranquility of an untroubled life, or at least, of the moment. Usually, this isn't the case for me, as Left Side and Right Side usually argue pretty incessantly; but every once in a while, and more so as I recover, I find it.
Case in point:
The other day I was on a camping trip with a friend of mine and some of her family. After everyone got settled and went to bed for the night, I knew I'd be up much longer, so I pulled out my camera and decided to get a few night shots. I love night photography. I'm not very good at it, but it is so fun. Anyway...
During a night shoot, the camera's shutter needs to be opened for long periods of time to gather light (I won't go into all that). So when I would take the photo, I had time to just sit there and ponder as I patiently waited. This gave me plenty of opportunity to argue with myself, but I rediscovered something that hadn't happened to me in a long, long time -- Right Side and Left Side could fall asleep before me.
I was in complete bliss.
The river ran just a few hundreds yards off, the insects and bugs left me entirely alone, and I could see all of creation as both a participating spec amongst the stars, as well as an inhabitant in a place full of wonder, life, and significance.
I was serene.
All this because I am sober. For the next hour and a half, I absorbed this tranquility and untroubledness. Everything left me except for the arm of the creative being that there is. And for the first time in many, many years -- my soul slept that night.