Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Change is inevitable. Whether it be the days that crawl buy and the years that race or the gray hairs that sneak up on us , the favorite restaurant that closed or leaving the house we grew up in, all things change. One of my favorite quotes comes from the 12 step world, origin unknown. The serenity prayer-It is recited every meeting. Like a mantra or positive affirmation, I imagine for many the wisdom of that prayer is lost at first. It takes years for most of us to stop dwelling on what was, The Things we cannot change. We ruminate, regret, review the conversations, once again feel the combination of embarrassment or anger at what we said and what they said but we do it.” I can’t believe she……………..” many of us can fill in the blank. … truly a waste of time. Lots of sorrow, regret, tears, wishes… We must grieve what we have lost; it is necessary to move forward. Then there are the current things, the heap of junk in the corner of the room, the piles of clothes we have been meaning to sort, the garage, oh the garage! The courage to change the things we can.The difficult conversation, the apology that needs to be spoken, sticking one’s neck out to say “ can this be different?” It takes courage, lots of it. No one wants to get rejected, no one wants to think that all that junk needs to be discarded, that all that time spent on that project isn’t going to blossom like we thought. And if we are a “what if” person we can be forever stuck in the wonderings of how it will go without ever sticking a toe in to see how deep the well. So courage is the right word here. And when our courage is met with another’s courage, there is connection. Wisdom to know the difference- This brings me to the recent events in Ventura, California, the Thomas fire. All around us in this city and county are countless demonstrations of knowing. As a resident and one who was minimally affected, I am in awe of the love and concern everywhere I looked. Homes burned, friends had 20 minutes to take their valuables, cars were toasted, nothing decipherable left due to the heat of the fire. Emergency upon emergency was met with assistance, shelter, food, clothing, free meals, gratitude for the first responders. Compassion showed up. It was the time to know the difference. Whether it be the family home that is gone or the Christmas ornaments of 25 years that have vaporized, the one momento from a favorite relative has been lost. Through this, many came to realize what was of ultimate importance. Whether the victims have means or not, the playing field was leveled. We were all afraid, we were all a bit lost, we were all in it together. And when faced with what we could not change, wisdom prevailed. We did what we could. The families that were displaced continue to find their way whether it be with insurance companies, rental properties, dear friends. Some got out of town temporarily. Others didn’t have that opportunity and continue to be in community shelters.Lives were changed forever as a result of this fire.In time, opportunities will be realized as a result. In time, some will continue to hurt and may not recover well. In time, changes, although forced, will be implemented. See here a partial list of resources for those affected.