Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Serenity Prayer Part Five

Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace...
sounds like something you would expect to hear on the blog of a pastor.
Sounds like one of those sentences you'd file under, "Good advice".
Like when people would tell me to enjoy my children while they were young, they grow up so quickly.
But in that moment they were crying and not sleeping through the night.
And now they are almost as tall as me, look me in the eyes.

Hardship...pain...struggle...and suffering are the four streets we would rather never travel down.
We'd prefer they be the "road never traveled".
So often hardship, pain, struggle, and suffering seem like cul-de-sacs.
Dead ends.
Leaving us unsure which way to go, because the options are so limited on those pathways.
But maybe suffering and struggle invite our creativity.
Get out of the car when the road ends and go explore that wooded area just ahead.
Leave behind what we know for the sake of the unknown.
Or maybe suffering and struggle remind us that we are not as in control as we think we are.
Or maybe suffering and struggle reveal the deepest truth: we are vulnerable.

Which is why the prayer has built to this point.
In suffering we take one day at a time...
We need peace that we cannot manufacture/micromanage to face the struggle...
We need to do what we can, where we can, how we can, and accept that may or may not always be enough.

The prayer doesn't just land and leap to suffering.
The words have been pointing here all along.
Pointing to a sense that when we encounter pain in life: physically, emotionally, spiritually ~ or those times when it is all three together ~ we need to live hour by hour with a wisdom beyond our own.
A light that can point the way in the darkness.
And a trust to take a step, no matter how small, forward, into the night.

As we start to knock on the doorway to Holy Week,
This prayer points a way through betrayal, desertion, and death that Jesus faced with courage, wisdom, and openness to the suffering he encountered.
May these words speak to our lives in these days, reminding us that we are not alone.

Grace and peace ~~

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