Ignore What Annoys You Sunday, Nov 16 2014 

Recently I got a little pimple on my cheek that annoyed me. It wasn’t very big, but just wouldn’t go away. I finally squeezed and poked at it hoping to get rid of it once and for all. Instead, it became infected and grew to cover half of my face. At least it seemed that way to me. It’s finally healing but would have been gone by now if I’d just left it alone.

I’m taking this as a life lesson. So many little problems consume way too much of our thoughts. Many are ones we cannot do anything to change. Like a dripping faucet, the negative energy of that unpleasant person, uneven step on the front porch, and rush hour traffic brings us down every time we think about it.

The Serenity Prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, offers a guide in dealing with these situations. It begins, “God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

The challenge, of course, is in distinguishing between what can and cannot be changed. It isn’t always easy to know if the problem is one that’s best dealt with immediately or one that can never fully be resolved.

But we do eventually figure that out in time. If we keep trying different ways to resolve a situation and it continues, we might have to let it go. For example, there are people that will never compromise, never treat us respectfully, and repeatedly hurt us. These are the problems we have to accept that cannot be changed, as the prayer goes. Our only alternative may be to wish them peace and avoid them as much as possible. There is no benefit in placing ourselves in an ongoing position that causes us pain.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

This Too Shall Pass Thursday, Apr 4 2013 


When we are in the middle of a crisis, it can feel as if there is no end in sight. Dealing with it all is exhausting and depressing. But everything eventually works its way through to completion in some way, or at the very least, transitions into a new normal. When we are doing our best to rectify a situation, sometimes we have no other alternative than to wait it out.

But that waiting can be stressful. We do it so often – we wait in line for the car wash and at the grocery store. We wait for healing, test results, a promotion, and court cases to settle. We wait for acceptance letters, to be pregnant, and for our house to sell. The short waits are annoying. The big ones can be draining.

Countering that waiting period with something fun or productive is an alternative. A good movie or book offers some distraction. For more relief, we might take a class, exercise, pray, meet up with a friend, or volunteer. Our energies can be redirected to fill a need for someone else as well as ourself.

More importantly, we should take full notice of what is happening around us. No matter how challenging the situation, something good is in our life. If we keep our focus in that direction, we won’t miss out on the joys we also have.

The saying, “This too shall pass” has been repeated since medieval times because there is truth in it. We can endure most anything if we know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Life is full of challenges that pop up, but one by one, they do end. In the meantime, we can have hope in the new day and all the blessings that come with it.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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