Serenity. If I look for it, really look for it, I can find it.
Everything passes, nothing remains. Understand this, loosen your grip and fine serenity.
--Surya Das, Buddhist poet, activist and author
Serenity. If I look for it, really look for it, I can find it.
Freshly sliced summer tomatoes and chilled mozzarella cheese, with a vinaigrette drizzle. Sweet corn, the kind that peaks in flavor and abundance just about now. And a cheeseburger, hot off the grill, pink and juicy, medium rare, just how I like it. The company as well, my Mom and brother, the three of us sharing a meal and conversation and connection on the last Thursday night of the last unofficial weekend of summer, a balmy night, peepers still peeping away as background music.
Then on my drive back home, there was a beautiful pink and red sunset too, those colors pushing up against a backdrop of dark clouds, the contrast so stark, the light so soft. It was the kind of dusk that somehow brings a day to a fitting end, with quiet and natural beauty.
And when I got home, Japanese baseball on the TV thats brought me joy this summer and so to end a really good day I watched the Orix Buffalos take on the Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks in the Nippon Professional Baseball League. I only caught the ninth inning, but it was a tight game and even though I could not understand the commentary, it was still baseball, baseball with a live crowd in the seats, actually cheering. Something I have so missed in this odd summer, a summer that for the first time in so long, I didnt attend a game.
That was my serene Thursday evening.
Serenity: times in this life, when this life, just feels good somehow, even perfect in its presentation, there, right there for the taking and the enjoying but only if I am fully present to whatever graceful moment the universe is giving to me. If I do not pay attention, if I let the weight of my anxieties take me away from whatever is right in front of me, I wont find that peace of mind. Wont know serenity.
One of my favorite prayers and one of the most popular of well-known prayers is the Serenity Prayer, attributed to the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It begins, God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things can, and the wisdom to know the difference. On my really good days, when I actually realize all the simple blessings of this life, even in the midst of all the brokenness, I actually get to that serene place. A state of mind where I am able to see just what I do have ultimate and final control over my attitude towards everything and that which I do not have control over.
Just about everything else.
Acceptance does not mean I capitulate to the sharper edges of life, edges we are all experiencing right now in this year that has been a collective train wreck in so many ways. COVID. The election. The economy. The struggle for racial justice. How the church I serve will survive in the midst of the pandemic. The winter months looming ahead, long and cold months where I might have to return to inside isolation.
In the largest sense I do not have control over these happenings. And when I forget this truth: when I brood and am filled with worry and watch the news obsessively and grow dark in my view of the world, and become cynical or even worse, apathetic in the face of life, well there goes my serenity. Being centered in myself and God. Trusting somehow that this too shall pass and that 2020 will give way to better days.
Yes, I, all of us: we can and must do our parts in each of these places where we actually do have some personal control. We can be careful about COVID for ourselves and loved ones and neighbors and even strangers. Vote and be active civically. Work for a country where we are reconciled as brothers and sisters, regardless of race. I can do the best I can as a pastor. You can do the best in whatever your work is. We all can start planning now for how we will spiritually and emotionally survive what may be a very long winter.
But finally, I also have to cede ultimate control power these events, over all of life itself, to a power much greater than me, and trust that this power is working through all things for the good. In those rare times when I actually get to such a state of mind and heart and soul: thats when I find serenity. And perhaps, thats when you can find serenity too.
Serenity: not just in the more dramatic or obvious moments or of life but even more so in the basic and good gifts of life. Like a backyard barbecue with the people you love on an otherwise nondescript and unremarkable September Thursday evening.
That is good enough for me. That is where I find some serenity.
And so, in the days ahead, these crazy and unprecedented and wild days, may you seek, may you find and may you know serenity too.
The Rev. John F. Hudson is senior pastor of the Pilgrim Church, United Church of Christ, in Sherborn (http://pilgrimsherborn.org). If you have a word or idea youd like defined in a future column or have comments, please send them to email@example.com.
Read the original:
- Spirituality - From one end to other - Goa Chronicle - Goa Chronicle - February 4th, 2021
- 8 Women in Spirituality to Know in 2021 - PRNewswire - February 4th, 2021
- Simplicity of spirituality - The New Indian Express - February 4th, 2021
- THE CREATIVE SOUL Podcast Explores The Intersection Of Creativity & Spirituality - Broadway World - February 4th, 2021
- Upcoming exhibit to show connection between lowriders and spirituality - KRQE News 13 - February 4th, 2021
- SOLOS goes on a spiritual journey with Bill Forchion - Brattleboro Reformer - February 4th, 2021
- Bring Me the Horizon's Oli Sykes Had 'Spiritual Rehab' With Monks at an Ashram - Loudwire - February 4th, 2021
- Skiing and the spiritual life - Arlington Catholic Herald - February 4th, 2021
- Spirituality for Millennials: Choosing quality over quantity is always a good idea - Free Press Journal - February 4th, 2021
- Horoscope, Thursday, February 4, 2021: Spiritual Day for Gemini, Love is in the Air for Virgo - India.com - February 4th, 2021
- Sophie Xeon passes away in terrible accident while being true to her spirituality - Republic World - February 4th, 2021
- Sundance's 'Son of Monarchs' Is the Spiritual and Scientific Anthem We Didn't Know We Needed - Daily Utah Chronicle - February 4th, 2021
- One of the last living spiritual sons of Padre Pio reveals what he learned - Aleteia EN - February 4th, 2021
- Vow of poverty: Jesuits to look at its spiritual, practical implications - The Catholic Sun - February 4th, 2021
- A holistic professional shares a guide to transform life through reflections, practical tools and spiritual wisdom - GlobeNewswire - February 4th, 2021
- Want to Know Your (Spiritual) Family's History? Then Read What They Wrote Southern Equip - The Southern News - February 4th, 2021
- Letter: Be spiritual all the year through - Grand Forks Herald - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual direction: What is it, who needs it, and why? - The Catholic Telegraph - January 5th, 2021
- 'I see miracles every day': Hospital chaplain reflects on spiritual care during pandemic - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - January 5th, 2021
- Inspiration - The Abundant Empower Hour 01/04 by Universal Energy | Spirituality - BlogTalkRadio - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual Editorial: Walk confidently In 2021 and always | Faith - NorthcentralPa.com - January 5th, 2021
- New Religious Fiction Novel 'The Chronicles of Assignments: Principalities' Presents Thrilling Adventure in Spiritual Warfare - GlobeNewswire - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual Reflections: Remember to find joy the new year - SW News Media - January 5th, 2021
- 2020 YEAR IN REVIEW: Washington reflects on a year of 'Spiritually Speaking' - The Atlanta Voice - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual politics in the world: Is it an utopian expectation? - WION - January 5th, 2021
- African-American Educator and Spiritual Leader Jay Vinson Offers Hope for American Youth - Publishes Powerful New Memoir and Devotional That Turns... - January 5th, 2021
- Ignatian spirituality in 'Wonder Woman 1984': The line between greed and the true more of 'magis' - America Magazine - January 5th, 2021
- Spirituality: This is time of year to make our dreams real - Norwich Bulletin - January 5th, 2021
- Surviving Death on Netflix, A Scientific and Spiritual Investigation into the Afterlife | Movie trailer - Prudent Press Agency - January 5th, 2021
- JI spiritual leader Bashir set to be released on Friday - The Straits Times - January 5th, 2021
- New Year's resolutions: A spiritually uplifting thing to do - Walla Walla Union-Bulletin - January 5th, 2021
- Spiritual Successors Are Keeping Iconic Game Series Alive, and They're Not Slowing Down - The Escapist - January 5th, 2021
- Landry: How to make spiritual New Year's resolutions - Grandin Media - January 5th, 2021
- Contagion Spiritual Sequel In The Works From Steven Soderbergh - Screen Rant - January 5th, 2021
- Generation Z and spiritual wellness The Famuan - Famuan - November 10th, 2020
- Pastor Paula White calls on angels from Africa and South America to bring Trump victory - USA TODAY - November 10th, 2020
- Spiritual Warriors on Behalf of Donald Trump - The Bulwark - November 10th, 2020
- COLUMN/PERSPECTIVE: The spiritual experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail - Brunswick News - November 10th, 2020
- NJAC Rededication: 1970 Revolution impacts spirituality and religion in T&T - Wired868 - November 10th, 2020
- US election 2020: Biden seeks spiritual comfort before maelstrom of 'loneliest job in the world' - Sky News - November 10th, 2020
- OPINION/SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Were still in this together - Wicked Local Kingston - November 10th, 2020
- Inspiration - The Abundant Power Hour 11/09 by Universal Energy | Spirituality - BlogTalkRadio - November 10th, 2020
- Spiritual teacher Sri M comes out with new collection of short stories - Times of India - November 10th, 2020
- Morality, spirituality must be at centre of discussions aimed at lasting unity - Stabroek News - November 10th, 2020
- Yes, There Is a Spiritual Side to Having a Healthy Relationship With Food | RELEVANT - RELEVANT Magazine - November 10th, 2020
- Tokayev receives head of Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan - Kazinform - November 10th, 2020
- Worldly concerns bleed into the spiritual realm | State - Southernminn.com - November 10th, 2020
- Trip to top of wind turbine offers spectacular sights and spiritual sensation - Wicked Local Plymouth - November 10th, 2020
- The strange tale of a former massage therapist turned religious leader & his 5 spiritual wives - The Independent - November 10th, 2020
- Study links daily spiritual practices to improved well-being and mental health - Baptist News Global - October 28th, 2020
- Brother Voodoo offers Marvel a chance to explore Black spirituality and acceptance - SYFY WIRE - October 28th, 2020
- Everything eco-friendly for the spiritual vibe - The New Indian Express - October 28th, 2020
- The Alchemy of Heartbreak and Hope: A Spiritual Practice for Our Time - Resilience - October 28th, 2020
- Chaplains and the role of spiritual care in Healthcare - The Laconia Daily Sun - October 28th, 2020
- As Witchcraft Surges in America, Is the Church Prepared for the Spiritual Battle? - CBN News - October 28th, 2020
- Spiritual Editorial: God Is With Us Through It All - NorthcentralPa.com - October 28th, 2020
- How this Indigenous architect designs buildings with Indigenous history and spirituality in mind - CBC.ca - October 28th, 2020
- PEARRELL: Our spiritual revival is not tied to who wins an election - Rockdale Newton Citizen - October 28th, 2020
- Amazing high school choir sings spiritual Down to the River to Pray from hotel balconies - Classic FM - October 28th, 2020
- A window on to Ram Kumars visionary and spiritual world - Financial Times - October 28th, 2020
- Are we experiencing a pandemic spiritual mutation? An approach from Kabbalah - The Times of Israel - October 28th, 2020
- Holly Courtier planned to go on spiritual journey, fast inside Zion National Park, family says - ABC 4 - October 28th, 2020
- Spiritual coaches aim to ease COVID-19, other health disparities in West Baltimore - Yahoo News - October 28th, 2020
- Indulgence for cemetery visits extended to spiritual visits and whole month of November - Aleteia EN - October 28th, 2020
- Russia is fighting coronavirus with prayers: a companion of Putins spiritual father has published a special book - Pledge Times - October 28th, 2020
- 4 Women of Color Share How Spirituality Has Helped Them Heal, Rest, and Resist - Well+Good - October 19th, 2020
- Tent revival focused on spiritual breakthrough | Religion - The Mountaineer - October 19th, 2020
- Spirituality in the second half of life - Catholic Herald - October 19th, 2020
- Hot on the healers: The best spiritual practitioners in London - Tatler - October 19th, 2020
- Spirituality: Know that you represent God when you show up - Norwich Bulletin - October 19th, 2020
- UK churches urged to wake up to spiritual abuse of LGBT people - The Guardian - October 19th, 2020
- Kangana Ranaut is all praise for grounded and spiritual Will Smith, wants Bollywood to show same keenn - Times of India - October 19th, 2020
- Coronavirus has exposed a moral and spiritual vacuum. Who will fill it? - TheArticle - October 19th, 2020
- Opinion: Love, Light, and Spiritual Bypassing | Opinion, Paganism, Perspectives, Politics, Witchcraft - The Wild Hunt - October 19th, 2020
- The Office of Religious & Spiritual Life to host eighth annual Crossroads Lecture - TCU 360 - October 19th, 2020
- The Spiritual Power of Pharoah Sanders - The Vinyl Factory - October 19th, 2020
- Mission Committee strives to improve faith and spirituality among Belles - Observer Online - October 19th, 2020
- Crossing over from spiritual world of ancestors to visual art - SowetanLIVE - October 19th, 2020
- Fight the second wave with apps for financial, spiritual and physical success - USA TODAY - October 19th, 2020
- Galway clergy pledge to run each day during Level 3 for spiritual and financial reasons - The Irish Times - October 19th, 2020