Serenity


God grant me the courage to change the things I can change,
The Serenity to Accept what cannot be changed
And the wisdom to know the difference.
--R. Niebuhr

I often use this well known quotation for my counselees -- but over the course of these years of serving as a military chaplain I've modified it a bit. I will tell them courage should be for that which not only "can" be changed but "should be changed".

Now after living in Enland through fall, winter, and coming into a gorgeous spring I find myself thinking the second line could be expanded as well to include: the spirit to revel in what is good and not be tarnished by what is bad.

There is a beautiful serenity about the English countryside that is reflected in the lives of most of the Britons I have met thus far. Here one finds a modern country that has all that our advanced modern technologically enhanced society offers but still yet has managed to preserve its historic culture without trampling all over nature.

In my neighborhood there are a cluster of small efficient newer homes, of which I occupy one. The focus is on quality not square footage. We have a small garden and solarium and time spent there is good for the soul. Nearby are homes from more ancient days with thatched roofs and low ceilings. There is one rinky dink McDonald's in town. We've been there twice. Wasn't all that nourishing in any capacity to be truthful. But there are dozens of quaint pubs each with its own special personality. The best food I've had in the past year has been in these establishments.

This is a land where flowers, animals, and people bloom and grow together. Rare is it that I see litter on the streets or in the fields. Neighbors talk to neighbors. A moment of refreshment is just a short walk away to the nearest park or preserve. God's creation is on display for one to relish and even signs of human habitation compliment rather than overcome the landscape.