Serenity: Abide In The Vine

After a night of sleeplessness, I get up and open the paper; immediately I am confronted with the issues of the day. China spying on US firms; The Democratic/Republican sequester, depending on who is naming it; Boeing to offer a fix to the FAA; Marijana tourism; murder and mayhem of all kinds. What a crazy world we live in.

These are not the things that keep me awake at night. A student having a problem; some crazy decision by management where I work; classes that I have been asked to teach that I dislike; Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of my job; these are the things that make me toss and turn. Last night was one of those nights.

There is nothing wrong with disagreement, it happens all the time. In fact, if we all agreed all the time, the quality of decision-making diminishes. A gentleman named Irving Janus did research on this phenomenon, and determined that even the smartest individuals can make bad decisions when they think they know it all. As I thought about this in the wee hours of the morning, the serenity prayer came to mind. I love it when God’s still small voice emerges within the chaos.

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And the wisdom to know the difference.


Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

As it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make things right

If I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever in the next.


Reinhold Niebuhr

So there you have it. My mantra for the day, and the rest of my life. I like to fix problems within organizations. However, often I don’t have the tools to fix the problem, nor do the problems want to be fixed. Therefore I need the wisdom to be able to determine what differences I can and cannot make. I cannot change a person, or his/her personality, but I can change how I respond to them.

Displaying courage involves an ability to be strong in the face of pain and grief. As I write this I am reflecting on the Catholic understanding of seven virtues: four are cardinal and three are considered theological. Theological virtues are faith, hope and love. For us to properly display these virtues we must rely on the Spirit of God to live these in us and through us. The cardinal virtues are courage, prudence, justice and restraint.

Lord my prayer for today is that these virtues would be evident within me, May I be courageous, prudent, just, and wise (restraining myself from hurting others). And Holy Spirit, please express your love, through me, that I may be a man of faith and hope as I live each day. In Christ’s name I pray.

You know what, now that I think about it, this is my prayer for all of us. May all of us love, believe, and care for each other.

And that is my thought for the day!


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