Leap Year Lesson #329: Don’t Fret What You Can’t Control

Posted: November 25, 2012 in Attitude
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Today’s 600+ mile drive from Folly Beach, South Carolina back home to Louisville, Kentucky was a good time to remember 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.”  The prayer originated with American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (not Francis of Assisi or others to whom it has falsely been attributed).

Why did it come to mind today?  Because of traffic on Interstate 75 between Knoxville and the Kentucky-Tennessee border.  There were multiple wrecks that brought all traffic to a complete standstill, delaying our arrival home by more than an hour from what would normally have been the case.

When that happens, how do you react?  Do you get mad?  Do you huff and puff?  Do you curse?

What I did was use a smartphone app called Waze to find out what was happening.  There had been a serious wreck ahead, so it took us about an hour to go five miles.  Then we didn’t go too many miles before there was another wreck.  Post-Thanksgiving traffic was heavy, anyway.  Add wrecks to the mix and it makes for slow going.  After hearing one of the wrecks was a fatality, though, I won’t complain too much about our delay.

Coming back to the Serenity Prayer, the part that applies for today’s travel is accepting the things I cannot change.  That isn’t easy, especially when we like to exercise (or think we exercise) nearly complete control over most aspects of our lives.  To get caught in some situation over which we have no control is frustrating.  Or, I should say, it is potentially frustrating.  Whether or not it actually ends up being frustrating is up to the person, isn’t it?

While I didn’t like the traffic delay, it would have been pointless to get all bent out of shape about it, wouldn’t it?  It was something over which I had no control.

“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.”

Leap year lesson #329 is Don’t fret what you can’t control.

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