"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."
Wikipedia explains that this poem is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, and its most common association is with the Alcoholics Anonymous program.
But as a mom of teenaged sons, I'm inclined to think that a mom on her knees and carpet fuzz in her nose hairs cried it out in the closet one dark night of the soul while interceding for the soul of her son.
In many cases I vividly remember the infinite frustrations of being a teenager. I realize now as a mom that I had no vision for the infinite frustrations that my parents must have experienced as they witnessed me wrongly focused on that which could and would not make me happy. Ever. While stubbornly focused on those things which I mistakenly thought could and would make me happy. Not ever.
Enter the mom's curse, a la Bill Cosby's wife's voice, "I hope you have children just like you!"
And then she did.
In most families where all are biologically related, I hear the picking apart of various traits through the genetic tree--"She's as stubborn as her Aunt Patsy," or "Well, that is clearly the Nicholson in her." In my family where in at least two cases there is not a genetic linkage, there is still the spiritual one where as sons of Adam and as daughters of Eve we seek not that which God has said is good, very good, but we choose that which promises better while only delivering worst.
And over and over and over again both in insanity of soul and frustration of spirit we lather, rinse, and repeat.
On the outside it all looks so simple. When you're counseling a friend, it all sounds so simple. But when your son is the one circling in frustration, it is not so simple.
It is at about this point in the blog post that a resolution should be on its way; at least for the writing. Neither the reader nor the author will have that in this one. Yet. While every day is a step towards some form of resolution, the story is still in process; it is not finished.
Hence the "Serenity" prayer: help this mom to have peace for what she cannot change; courage to change what I can; and wisdom (from the Only Wise God) to know the difference. And bring my son's heart home to You.