New Twist on the Old Serenity Prayer.

Your toughest experience can be your best lesson.

I learned this when my husband, Jonny, and I combined our six children—three boys and three girls all under the age of eleven—into one blended family.

I had the hardest time with my stepson who, at the time, had serious ear infections causing partial deafness and serious ADHD. I really tried hard with him. I prayed that I could use the challenge as a lesson in my spiritual journey.

What’s the spiritual lesson? I kept asking myself. What can you learn? And oh, I kept praying that I’d find it.

A few years into our relationship, after making a lot of effort, things startedgetting better with my stepson, whom I nicknamed Izzy. That was when I met a woman who had just become a step-mom to two boys, one of whom she didn’t get along with. I shared my experience with Izzy and told her that I hoped she could look for the spiritual things she could learn about herself. She said, “Oh, I’m not spiritual at all…we just don’t get along and that’s that.”

It’s been about ten years since that conversation. Her relationship with her stepson got worse. My relationship with Izzy has only gotten better. We had our rough spots but I looked for things I could do to improve things within myself. Like being more patient, being a better listener, doing things that he liked and not things I necessarily liked, and loving unconditionally, without any guarantee I’d get anything back in return. I had to learn to be less me to be more me. To be the best me I could be. I learned to make sure I was taking care of myself and that way I could take care of him.

If someone had asked me at first, I would have wanted to change him. But I learned of course the twist on the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the courage to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s ME.”

The toughest challenge turns into the best lesson.  Izzy and me.

The toughest challenge turns into the best lesson. Izzy and me.

So there you have it. True love now grows when we’re willing to just give it out. We can do the things we have to do with grace and love by being grateful for all we have. It’s a miracle because we can make a conscious decision to love. We really can. 

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
This entry was posted in Acceptance, How to Change Your Life, People, Relationships, Transformation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to New Twist on the Old Serenity Prayer.

  1. juliabarrett says:

    Very true. And heartfelt. You look like twins in your checkered shirts!

  2. Tom Scott says:

    Amen!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Completely agree and love your twist on the prayer! I shared it with my friends at Choice Center Leadership University in Las Vegas- it really speaks to their philosophy.
    (great photo!)

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you Ellen Anonymous. I read about a woman who couldn’t pronounce “Anonymity” and someone suggested she break it down to “Anna Nimity.” I will check out Choice Center in Las Vegas! All best!

  4. Ellen Wasserson says:

    Diana-Didn’t mean to be anonymous- the comment is from me, Ellen Wasserson

  5. Excellent post, Diana. In your memoir (Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle), wonderful stories like this–about Izzy and also any about your family and the lessons you learned about yourself and the children–would have made a powerful, remembered detail on your way to Alaska, or even as a postscript at the end. Anywhere you would include these stories would be an encouragement and a boost to your readers. The picture of you and Izzy is excellent.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Marylin, That is a good idea to include a postscript at the end of my book. Something to think about! Thanks for writing.

  6. Rhonda Blender says:

    I love the way you take your experiences and are able to share lessons and the wisdom derived from them. I always learn something and have “how might I use/apply” this in my own life? Since I would prefer not to learn every single thing the hard way (!) and try to learn from the paths of others, I always look forward to your blog post appearing in my inbox. L’Shana Tova!!

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Rhonda. It is easier trying to learn things from other people’s experiences…rather than battling it alone. I am glad to pass on what I’ve learned. Happy new year!

  7. Pam Huggins says:

    A beautiful post and a wonderful photo of you two!
    I really like the Serenity Prayer twist and will put that into action immediately. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing another heart warming story.

  8. Nancy Beckett-Lawless says:

    I really loved this post! Every step-parent should read this and learn from it. Blending families is not easy. Melting hearts ….much easier! Thank you Diana

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Nancy! Great to hear from you…Yes, being a step-anything is a challenge. I appreciate your wisdom on the subject!

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Nancy! Great to hear from you…Yes, being a step-anything is a challenge. I appreciate your wisdom on the subject!

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