I have to say that being in my 60’s feels like another coming of age experience. Oh, I know there’s lots of aches and pains. Things I can no longer do, but something within is changing on a deeper level. The term coming of age is often used as we go from the teen years into adulthood. But what do we really know at that age. It’s really only the beginning of experiencing life. What it has to teach us. Who we want to be. What we want to do. I remember when I turned 40 feeling like it was another coming of age experience. It was the beginning of truly getting to know, accept and like myself for who I was. I road into my 50’s with a little more confidence and understanding that it isn’t all about me, but about who I am in connection to something much bigger then myself, my religion and my calling. Now that I’ve been in my 60’s I feel lighter in many ways definitely freer. I sense this new coming of age is melding me together both body, mind and soul. This longing I have to simple “be” …it’s my soul calling to me.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
When we are in the mist of our troubles, the things that keep us awake at night thinking what we could have done different. What can we do about it now? Oh please God take this burden away we cry out. There are so many hardships from addictions, to sickness, heartaches and losses, I know I’m only touching the surface of many. These are overpowering things. That cause us not to think straight. We have to get to that cry for help. What do we want? To find a sense of peacefulness that will carry us through, because in our desperation, we know there is nothing we can do to change what’s happening. How do we find the serenity we need? Through the gift of acceptance. It’s not enough to ask, we have to be willing to put into action what accepting requires. Believe it or not, there is a gift waiting to be received though our act of acceptance, and that gift is the serenity we long for. It’s tough though. I’ve been through my share of things; I can’t imagine that anyone hasn’t.
How do we accept a gift that is handed to us when our hands are too full of the pain and sorrows to grasp onto it? We have to begin laying down the things we can’t do anything about. The serenity prayer is easy, but the work we have to do takes time, patience and trust. Even when we find ourselves in a better place, it can be difficult to let go of our painful past experiences. I carried a tremendous amount of emotional baggage with me into my marriage and family life. As long as I held onto it I remained imprisoned by it, always the victim feeling helpless. Until one day in a group session with other emotionally damaged people, I got tired of hearing the same story’s over and over again going nowhere. Changing nothing, because as Fr. Morris points out, we can’t change the past. It’s only in the letting go that we are able to receive the gift that acceptance bring. It is so freeing; how can you not experience the serenity it creates.
And the beat goes on through life as we will encounter many more unrelated things we could have never imagined that will be hard. Each time you learn a little more about what your capable of handling, yet it never gets any easier to go through.