The people in Alcoholic's Anonymous have a wonderful prayer that helps them stay sane and sober. Called the Serenity Prayer, it reads: "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." Of all the phrases by which people live their lives, I can think of none that contains more good sense than this one. Because, within it, is the notion that there are things that happen to us in this life that, despite however much we would wish them different, they will not be different. And that we, if we are to survive, must come to accept those things as they are and to do so with grace and dignity. So, if by chance you are undergoing a sudden overload of stress and are feeling confused and disoriented as to your purpose, your values, your beliefs, and your traditions, then maybe it is time to stand firm in the eye of the storm and accept that which you cannot change. From such a stance, you just may find that which you seek - a sense of serenity and peace. Up or Out? Because of the way the world seems to be going these days, I want to say a couple of words about life in these times and the stress with which we must all learn to cope. We are, each of us, required to change and adapt constantly. Some of the futurists say that the world will continue to change; our values, our ideas, our technology, where we live, our jobs, and people we know. Te futurists say these constant changes will take place rapidly, more rapidly than ever before in the history of the world. What is steady and sure and right side up today, will be shaky and upside down tomorrow. And while we may not like this constant change, this underlying sense of insecurity, it isn't like there is much any of us can do about it. You can't stop the future, and you can't stop change. So what must we do? My own personal feeling is that since we cannot greatly reduce many of the sources of stress and the requirements for change made of us, we must, then, come to a different and more healthy perspective on what it means to live in these times. We must, by thinking differently about our lives, come to know that we will all undergo changes; little changes, big changes, constant changes. And we must learn to grow in such a way as to be ready for change, yes, even learn to embrace change.
47 But to do this, I think we need to examine something I feel is pretty crazy in our society right now. And that craziness has to do with the stress and pressures we put upon ourselves as a result of thinking there is only one path to happiness and satisfaction. The direction of that narrow path is up. By "up" I mean that many of us look at our lives as requiring that we always be moving in a direction that takes us from wherever we are now to some new, more successful, and higher place. We are a B student now, we should become an A student. We play high school basketball, but we should be shooting for a college scholarship. We are a college player, but we will not have fulfilled our mission until we play for the National Basketball Association. We have a job