Choosing Acceptance

There are frequent moments in my life these days when my body reminds me that I am getting older—an ache here, a pain there—and I could pretty easily get discouraged about aging. I would love it if my body didn’t succumb to aging. It would be wonderful if I could wake up one morning knowing that my body was not going to get any older or more decrepit! Ah, but we know that is not the case. In fact, aging is inevitable. Nothing much we can do about it except what we know about eating healthy foods and making time for exercise.
In her book, fIRSTLIGHT¸ Sue Monk Kidd talks about when her 30-year-old husband had a routine surgery in which he lost his voice unexpectedly. The damage was permanent. A nerve had been severed during his surgery. She prayed for a year for a miracle, but there was no miracle. In spite of her prayers, his voice did not return. She writes,
Still struggling to accept what happened, I opened the mail one morning to find a letter from a college teacher whom I’d not heard from in eight years. Out fell an orange sticker, as small as a postage stamp. On it was a gull, its wings spread in flight across the sky, and these words, ‘There is a miracle inside you.’
It caused me to remember the lines in 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.”
The miracle we found was acceptance.
The story is a good reminder for me that no matter what I am struggling with, whether it is aging or something more immediate, accepting what is so is not the same as giving up. It is an act of surrendering my concerns to God. It is an opportunity to live a life of peace rather than a life of resistance.
When there is nothing more we can do and our prayers seem to go unanswered, the greatest gift we can give ourselves is the gift of acceptance.
-Barbara Moore

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