My wife received a Christmas email from Manjusha, a social worker in a poor corner of India, a friend since Marianne was doing volunteer work with children there. Manjusha added, “The life is really uncertain – maintaining internal peace is the only aim.”
Her message struck a chord with both of us. In the past year I have found myself reciting the Serenity Prayer to myself:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
It works just as well if addressed to a higher power, or to common wisdom. In a dark time, it helps.
*-- Quote often attributed to Confucius, or Eleanor Roosevelt, traced to sermon by William L. Watkinson, USA, in 1907.
+- Serenity Prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr. Full version.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.