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- and, Oh, Lord, the presence of mind to always keep a shovel handy. Amen.
The Serenity Prayer, both straight and sarcastic, has been with me, and prayed with no sarcasm whatsoever, for years now. When I first started getting sick around age 20, and they plied me with numerous pain relievers and told me the massive back pain, etc, was just a part of bad scoliosis, or told me I must be just "imagining" the pain that kept me pretty much in bed, and sent me off to numerous counselors, while I got sicker, and only had a few that didn't chalk it up to grief of losing a friend not long before that, or un-shed tears from '95- I finally figured it out after dealing with a wedding with "flu-like symptoms", and culminating in leaving a birthday party unable to do much more than mimic Groucho Marx's walk--- bent and awkward, and no cigar or dirty jokes to be found- when I finally turned gray, and was rushed off, they figured out, after years of prayer, what was going on. Now, I can't take certain pain relievers, I drink Gatorade sometimes in massive amounts because I dehydrate fast. (You know I'm thirsty when I attack a glass of water like you're going to take it away from me... numerous glasses just chugged without realizing it.) But, I'm alive-- because I kept fighting. I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop, or rest, or use humor that may or may not be "mortuary" or "gallows" humor. I'll trust eventually. Maybe. I know that, in the past few years, that given the chance I could say "Thank you, you fine 'followers of Christ'. Do you think shoving faithless religion down my throat, telling me that the pain is God's punishment for a crime I MUST have committed... is Christlike? Why don't you tell a little kid with cancer that? Or someone whose child died? You idiots--- I can tell you this : I never hated before. Thank you, because you have taught me HOW to hate." I am still praying about that, because it does not feel good. And I don't like it.