Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Meaning of Prayer

I still think about Eddie every day, but he's been on my mind much more than usual this past week.  I know part of it is the time of year.  My birthday was last month, Thanksgiving is this week, then there's Christmas, our anniversary, and New Year's.  This is always a difficult stretch to get through.  But it's also because three years ago this past week I spent five days and nights with Eddie at the rehab center in Statesboro.  We came home the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  I remember the time spent there like it was yesterday.  I remember every class we attended, every meeting we went to, every speaker we heard, every movie we watched, every counseling session we had both separately and together.  I learned things that week that I never knew before.  I heard stories that I would have preferred not to hear.  I told things to total strangers that I had never told my own family.  I will remember that time for the rest of my life.  It had a very strong, lasting, positive effect on me.

Every meeting in rehab began with the Serenity Prayer and ended with the Lord's Prayer.  Of course I knew both of them and had said them many times in my life.  But I realized that up until that week I had only been reciting the prayers.  I had never really thought about the words and their meaning.  I know now that no matter how many times I said them, there is one line of each prayer I was never able to follow - God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and Thy will be done.  In all the years of my marriage I never accepted that it wasn't up to me to change Eddie's behavior.  I was convinced I could make Eddie want to stop drinking.  I thought that if I kept at it I could eventually make a difference.  It was all about my will and what I wanted to be done.  Now I know there are some things we simply cannot change or maybe that just aren't meant to be changed.

I don't like what I've learned.  I don't like the things I've had to accept.  I would much rather be in control of every aspect of my life.  My family and friends tease me about being "OCD" because of the extreme order I keep in my house and in my classroom.  I know I'm excessive about some of it, but in some ways I think this is a result of what I've been through.  I wasn't able to control what happened with Eddie, so I've looked for other things in my life that I can control.  I know the next six weeks aren't going to be easy, but I'll try to accept them for what they are and make the best of the time I have with the rest of my family.  Maybe I'm realizing the meaning of the last line of the Serenity Prayer - the wisdom to know the difference - between what I can and cannot change.

"In this manner, therefore pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name ..."
The Model Prayer - Matthew 6:9-13

1 comment:

  1. I just lost the love of my life to suicide. We burried him Nov.22,two days ago. Today thanksgiving has been a nearly impossible day to make it through. I dread the entire holiday season to come. Our stories sound very similiar in nature,rehab, meetings, counceling etc. My belief that I could some how control his addiction, change his behavior. My unwillingness to let go and let God..