Last night when the new year began, I was asleep and awakened by firecrackers going off. The bedside clock confirmed it: midnight. The sounds faded after a short while and I fell asleep again. Fortunately the neighbors must have put their dogs inside for the evening, because I didn't hear them barking. But then again, they might have been cowering in fear. Fireworks are not my favorite thing, either. At least I know what is causing the ruckus; they don't.
Yesterday was truly a turning point for me in regards to the theft I wrote about last week. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve were night and day from each other. My recovery from the event is almost complete now, although I will always have lost money and security that will not come back. My sense of vigilance is heightened and I don't think I will ever be as trusting as I was before.
This morning I woke from a strange dream. I was in a restaurant with friends and had put my purse under the table. We were enjoying an ice cream dish together, when another woman cried out that her purse was taken. I looked under the table and mine was gone, too. Although the sense of loss was great, I knew that my driver's license and credit card were with me and not in my purse, and I was glad for me and sorry for my friend who was not so lucky. While lamenting our losses, a man walked up and stood in front of us, and he had my keys and pictures that had been taken in the theft. I looked at my old driver's license and a picture of my son Chris. I cried with gratitude.
And then I woke up, looked at the clock and realized I had slept longer than usual. I pondered the meaning of the dream as I made my tea, and now I'm here drinking it and writing off the top of my head, with little idea of the direction I want to take this post. It's a new year, and I read all my friends' new posts and left comments. It's my usual morning activity, sitting up in bed in the dark with my partner asleep beside me. The clicking of the keys is the only sound; it's my favorite time of the day.
The Serenity Prayer has been uppermost in my mind this past week. Most of us know it, but here is the first stanza:
God grant me the serenityIt was written by Reinhold Niebuhr, I discovered in my google search just now. I've seen his name before but just learned that he was a theologian who died in 1971. I'll go study that link a bit more once I'm finished with this post. This is what happens to me these days: I look something up and head off on a tangent without meaning to. Our world is so incredibly connected, plugged in, and information of all kinds instantly available at my fingertips, so a little discipline is needed here. I feel the need to say something I haven't yet expressed.
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Thinking about three important words in that poem: serenity, courage, and wisdom. It's not an easy thing to be serene when things are going awry all around you. It's much easier to feel confusion and become suspicious of everyone. That is anything but serenity. I have fought to find some serenity during this past week, and I have been moderately successful. It's taken a fair amount of work and the passage of time.
Courage. Today I will go back to Lake Padden to celebrate the new year with my walking friends. It's not an easy thing to make myself go back to the scene of the crime, but if I don't take my courage in my hands and live my life in the way I desire, I will be even more of a victim. The impact of this theft has been huge on my psyche, and I wonder how I would recover these days from an even larger tragedy. I'm nowhere near as resilient as I was a decade ago when my son Chris died. And back then I suffered terribly for a long time, but I did eventually learn to smile and laugh again.
Wisdom. Ah, that word. The dictionary tells me it means "the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment." You cannot be a wise person without going through a fair bit of life's roller coaster of highs and lows. I do realize that being almost seventy has given me a fair bit of wisdom, and my desire to be a good person has caused me to think and rethink my actions. I wish for myself and for all of you, my blogging family, wisdom. I am learning to know the difference between what I can and cannot change, and I will gather my courage and do what I can in this new year.
There is a fourth important word in that poem: change. It's a constant thing in our lives, sometimes small and imperceptible, other times a momentous event that keeps us from continuing on in the same trajectory. But one thing I know: nothing and nobody escapes change. We can sometimes choose the direction of change, sometimes we can't. But change can be positive as well as negative.
Blessings to you at this time, and may the coming year bring us all joy and prosperity. It's a big wish, but I think we can do it if we try...