After waking up to the smell of smoke and ash this morning, my son Noah observed that what we’re living through right now is eerily similar to the Ten Plagues. From the coronavirus to killer bees, locusts, floods, earthquakes, record heat waves, and 11,000 lightning strikes in a single night igniting countless firestorms, we’re up to our bloodshot eyeballs in crazytown. I honestly don’t know how to brace for whatever’s next.
This scenario brings to mind the Serenity Prayer: “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.” While this prayer is a powerful one, Noah suggested we craft a version to support these strangely dystopian times.
Here are some potential variations on the Serenity Prayer, tailored for the Covid Era:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot control (i.e., most things), the courage to join the sluggish lines at Trader Joe's, and the wisdom to wear a mask, even when I’m sweating and breaking out, and it’s 97°F outside.
God grant me the serenity to read the news without getting heart palpitations, the courage to ignore my reflection during Zoom meetings, and the wisdom to awkwardly wave or shout "Hello!" to passersby since they can’t see me smile behind my mask (except for my eye crinkles).
God grant me the serenity to wait for a Covid test among potentially infected humans, the courage to touch the door handle that hundreds of people have just used, and the wisdom to coat my hands with sanitizer as soon as I return to my car.
God grant me the serenity to get out of bed in the morning, the courage to get dressed, and the wisdom to moisturize.
God grant me the serenity to sit down for nightly family dinners, the courage to keep going, even if every day feels like Groundhog Day, and the wisdom to be a positive role model for my kids, even if all I really want to do is zone out, eat popcorn, and watch Schitt's Creek.
God grant me the serenity to learn from my dog Izzie, the courage to be present like she is, and the wisdom to see each day as she does—with fresh eyes, ready to play, content with her pack.
God grant me the serenity to work at the computer without slipping into procrastination mode because I can’t focus on anything right now, the courage to turn off email notifications so I don't react to each "ping!" like a Pavlovian dog, and the wisdom to never, ever read the news before bed.
God grant me the serenity to avoid the scale right now, the courage to express how I'm really doing, and the wisdom to appreciate the little things—like hugs, nature walks, or a hot cup of tea.
God grant me the serenity to accept that I have invisible eyebrows and a Tales from the Crypt neck on Zoom calls, the courage to press “show video” anyhow, and the wisdom to recognize it’s good to see people, so who the hell cares.
We have to practice serenity and courage and embrace wisdom however we can during times like these. Hopefully the feckless Pharoah will be voted out this November and the plagues will slowly recede. God grant us the serenity to hang in until then, the courage to get out and vote, and the wisdom to recognize that our voice matters.