By Kristen Bourgeois
Acceptance. It has been a hard skill to learn. Growing up in an alcoholic home, we learn to accept unacceptable behavior, we focus our energy on trying to change the things we cannot change, and we are either unaware or lack the skills to identify things that are actually in our control.
This is why the serenity prayer is always so helpful. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This prayer puts things back into perspective.
Learning the art of acceptance isn’t just confined to one area of illness or situation. It applies to all areas of life. I recently got the news my beloved uncle was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and the prognosis is not a good one. And, I’m having another opportunity to practice acceptance. Not just accepting the prognosis, but also accepting how my loved one comes to terms with the prognosis and prepares for death.
My heart breaks to see anyone suffer, but my true sorrow is thinking that someone I love may die and not know the power of the sacrament of reconciliation, Eucharist and a hope that does not disappoint.
We pray in the Hail Mary, “Now and at the hour of our death.” That last hour can determine our eternity. It is both terrifying and hopeful to know while we are still alive that it’s never too late to accept salvation. And that the work of salvation is ultimately God’s.
Accepting situations and the choices made by others is difficult, but I am learning there are things that I do have the courage to change. I can reach out to those I know who are sick or going through a tough time. I can be a loving witness when others are cynical or upset. I can refrain from judgment and remind myself and others of their inherit goodness.
And, I can follow the Blessed Mother’s example and pray that the Lord will make my soul proclaim the goodness of the Lord and my spirit exult in God my savior.