'THE PRAYER OF SERENITY’
God grant me the Serenity to accept the
things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things lean and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
—Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Recently in a discussion of my acceptance of the constant ear noises I was asked if I was familiar with The Prayer of Serenity. "I have known this prayer for many years and have often suggested it to others; however, I had to admit that I had never seriously applied it to my present condition. It was suggested that I might give this some thought. This was certainly wise and helpful advice.
I secured a number of copies and placed them throughout both houses as reminders. In a hotel gift shop I found the prayer as printed above on a billfold-sized card. Until that time I had seen only the first four lines and had not known the author. Since then I have also found the entire poem in the beautiful book, A Garden of Prayer, A Family Treasure. I am pleased to have it in its entirety. Now I need to work toward putting it into practice in my life.
How extremely difficult it is! I want to try by all means to change some circumstances and, at times, some people to my own satisfaction. While some of these might be worthy changes, most often I cannot make the changes. So I must work toward accepting that some things in life may never be different than they are this very day. I should with God’s help accept the reality and go from there to find peace as God grants it.
How much easier life would be if I could learn to live only one day at a time! Instead I want to race ahead, attempting to smooth the rough places and to make the way safe and pleasant. I want to see what lies ahead — not just tomorrow or next week but next year and ten years from now. How will life be for my grandchildren? Can I do anything now to insure their well-being and happiness? I find I cannot take one day at a time and it is difficult to live moment by moment. The words of the hymn "Moment by moment I’m kept in His love, moment by moment I’ve strength from above" remind me I have only to turn to Him and give in to His will as the source of strength for my life.
When some part of the future seems unclear, I want to know "Why?" But God is not required to explain the whys of life to me. I must accept that He is in control. I am His and He is mine. I know He loves me too much to permit anything to enter my life except that which is meant for my good. These thoughts have often brought me to my knees and I am sure they will many more times. I must remember that "Nothing is going to happen to me today that God and I together cannot handle."
A reminder in our home of God’s help is the beautiful Sallman’s Head of Christ. While we were building our house, I wished for a copy of this painting to put at the head of the stairs, and apparently I made this comment often and to several people. When our friends and neighbors gave us a wonderful housewarming complete with a dedication service, they presented us with this beautiful print. Each time I have gone up the stairs these 24 years I have looked up into that face filled with innumerable emotions. What I see most is a calm, serene look. It has often been a source of peace to my anxious soul.
Daddy often reminded me that one of God’s greatest blessings is that we are not permitted to see the future. Don often points out that something that is bothering me comes under the heading of things I don’t have to worry about. One day recently as I rode along fretting about a situation I could not touch I seemed to hear very clearly a voice speaking, "Patsy, God has not put you in charge of the world." Thankfully, in His wisdom, He has not.
Yielding to God’s will is difficult. I want so much to be in charge not only of myself, but of others. I recognize I have far to go in putting "The Prayer of Serenity" into practice in my life. I know people who always have a look of serenity and move through the days quite peacefully. When I pause to ponder the lives of these people, it seems their relationships with God are such that they can leave the cares of the day with Him as they go about doing those deeds which help others toward a better life. I know too that only in this surrender can I be truly happy in life now and forever.
Do you find a message for your life in "The Serenity Prayer"?
Listed below with descriptions primarily from the book jackets are several books which may be helpful in dealing with some of life’s crises. Knowing that others share our problems and reading their words of encouragement and advice can often be helpful. Other book suggestions can be found in previous issues of Seasons, in the Funeral Home office, and in good bookstores.
Facing Loneliness: The Starting Point of a New Journey, by J. Oswald Sanders, attempts to provide some real life answers to one of the most common and most crippling problems of our century. Often ignored and neglected by professionals, this malady confronts most of us during our lifetimes. In this book the author provides both biblical and practical guidelines for managing loneliness, whether the loneliness results from the death of a spouse or a loved one, from age, unemployment, or divorce. The author shows how to deal with the heart of the issue — the lonely persons lack of intimacy. Facing Loneliness is full of hope and practical wisdom, and it will encourage and challenge you as you take specific steps to overcome the unhappy effects of being lonely. Paperback (175 pages), Discovery House Publishers.
Facing the Death of Someone You Love, by Elisabeth Elliot, deals with perhaps the most difficult task a Christian ever faces — accepting the death of a loved one and then going beyond that to a resurrection of thanksgiving and joy. Elisabeth Elliot has walked this lonely pathway twice — when her first husband was suddenly martyred by Auca Indians and when her second husband suffered slowly the ravages of cancer. She learned firsthand that even this grief is not too great for the grace and power of Christ. In this booklet, Ms. Elliot shares "six simple things that have helped me through this valley and that help me now." Her practical words of comfort will guide others through their sorrows and give them reassurance that God will never abandon them. Paperback (14 pages), Good News Publishers.
We dedicate this issue of Seasons to those who have died and whose families we have served from November 19, 1990 to February 18, 1991.
Mr. Dickie Darl McKinley, Sr. 11/19/90
Mr. Arbie Lee Bevell 11/19/90
Mrs. Katie W. Russell 11/20/90
Mrs. Olaette Jury Cerny 11/26/90
Mr. William Elam Wilburn 11/27/90
Mr. Francis Eugene Reynolds 11/27/90
Mrs. DoLores Munday Burrell 11/28/90
Mr. Winfred Hodge 11/29/90
Mr. Warner Gene Russell 12/1/90
Dr. Iola Taylor McClurkin 12/2/90
Mr. Ricky Campbell Valencia 12/6/90
Dr. C. L. McLarty 12/7/90
Mr. Raymond Earl Ray 12/8/90
Mrs. Lillie Mae Sandridge 12/8/90
Mrs. Charline Coleman Lindsey 12/14/90
Mrs. Minnie W. McGonagill 12/17/90
Rev. Jack Callahand 12/18/90
Mrs. Mary Jewell Knight 12/19/90
Mr. Doxie Kent Williford 12/19/90
Miss Zara Bishop 12/20/90
Mrs. Cora Lee Carwile 12/20/90
Mr. Riley Gilbert Jenkins 12/20/90
Mr. William Victor Rogers 12/20/90
Mr. Paul Daniel Duffy 12/23/90
Mrs. Martha Ayles Denton 12/24/90
Mr. Bennie Hugh Crouch 12/25/90
Mrs. Constance Long Kolberg 12/31/90
Mrs. Cecil M. Torres 12/31/90
Mrs. Annie See Sparks 1/6/91
Mrs. Hazel King Collins 1/8/91
Mrs. Melanie Willis Smith 1/8/91
Mrs. Gladys Sanders 1/9/91
Miss Martha Cecil Hull 1/13/91
Mrs. Annie Ree Miles Paul 1/17/91
Mr. John Thomas Henderson, Jr. 1/18/91
Mr. James Vardaman Stewart 1/19/91
Mrs. Mal Belle Hewlett Elliott 1/22/91
Mrs. Dorothy Johnson Kisner 1/22/91
Mrs. Ann Cox Crandall 1/22/91
Mr. Howard Walter Denton 1/24/91
Ms. Dianna Lynn Brummett 1/26/90
Mr. Thomas Price Baggett 1/27/91
Mr. Elton Gregory 1/27/91
Mrs. Dorothy Hill Yuill 1/31/91
Miss Annie Christine Drake 2/3/91
Mr. Emmitt E. Wimberley 2/6/91
Mr. Samuel Price Dulin 2/7/91
Mrs. Nora Allen Cherry 2/10/91
Mrs. Jimmie H. Redding 2/14/91
Mr. Charlie W. Metts 2/14/91
Mrs. Flora Ila S. White 2/15/91
Mrs. Sarah B. Goodman 2/17/91
In the holy hush of the early dawn,
I hear a voice…"I am with you all the day.
Again we are including some questions we are frequently asked along with our answers to help those who make decisions about funeral services. We encourage you to discuss with us any questions you have in planning or preplanning for services.
What time of day is best for funerals? Families often choose 10 or 11 in the morning or 2 or 3 in the afternoon but other times can be easily arranged. Sometimes because of the time of death, families may choose a late afternoon hour instead of delaying services until the next day. The Funeral Home staff will adjust to the time schedule that fits the situation.
Should jewelry be included in preparing the deceased for burial? What the family desires is appropriate. Jewelry can be used to complement the clothing selected and if the family makes their wishes clear before the casket is closed, the funeral home staff can remove jewelry before interment. The jewelry will be returned to the designated person after the service or when requested. The family may wish the deceased to be buried wearing a favorite or meaningful piece of jewelry.
"People really do pre-arrange their own funeral!"
"Today, I asked our funeral director if people ever pre-arrange a funeral service. He told me that they do... as a demonstration of love and consideration for others"
"Pre-arrangement could protect our family from having to make decisions at a time when decisions could be confusing and difficult."
"You know, this is an opportunity to involve our family in the decisions. Then, they will know our preferences and desires, too."
We invite you to learn more about the thoughtful advantages of pre-planning and funding the funeral service. Our pre-arrangement literature will be helpful to you, as well as those close to you. In quiet privacy we shall he pleased to provide informed counsel and attentive answers to your questions concerning pre-arrangement.
UPDATE ON VETERANS BENEFITS
The following information about congressional cuts in veterans’ allowances is presented in our continuing effort to keep you informed about changes in benefits. If you have questions, you should call the toll free number (1-800-682-5270) at the Veterans Administration.
Congress Cuts Veterans Allowances
A bill recently passed in Congress eliminates the headstone/marker allowance and changes the plot allowance provided to eligible veterans by the Veterans Administration. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (HR 5835) removes the provisions of Section 906(d) of Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, which formerly allowed reimbursement of the cost of a grave marker in lieu of a VA-provided marker for veterans who were to be, but were not, buried in a national cemetery.
Also affected by the legislation is Section 903(b) of the Code which provided payment of a plot allowance to eligible veterans not buried in a national cemetery. The bill eliminates this allowance for those whose eligibility -based solely on the status of being a veteran of any war, but not for those war veterans having insufficient resources to cover funeral and burial expenses and have no one claiming their remains.
The allowance continues to be payable to all veterans who meet current eligibility standards and are buried in a state veterans cemetery, and to all veterans discharged from service due to line of duty disabilities.
It is reported that enactment of this legislation will result in savings of $3 Million in fiscal year 1991 from the elimination of the marker allowance, and $27 Million from changes to the plot allowance benefits. The changes taker effect with respect to deaths occurring on or after November 1, 1990.
—Quoted from National Selected Morticians Bulletin, December 1990