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Simple wisdom

I can only assume some of you have experienced the same feelings I’ve had on occasion and felt you had very little control over the most miniscule things in life.

But, I found some words of wisdom on of all places, attached to a magnet on my freezer.

The best known form of the Serenity Prayer, authored by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, reads, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

That philosophy has been expressed through the ages by a number of scholars and philosophers, including 8th Century Indian Buddhist scholar Shantideva of Nalanda University, who wrote, “If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes, what reason is there for dejection, and if there is no help for it, what use is there for being glum?”

Jewish Philosopher Solomon ibn Gabirol wrote, “And they said: At the head of all understanding – is realizing what is and what cannot be, and the consoling of what is not in our power to change.”

Philosopher W. W. Bartley added a similar sentiment referring to a Mother Goose rhyme, of all things, “For every ailment under the sun, there is a remedy, or there is none; if there be one, try to find it; if there be none, never mind it.”

The Serenity Prayer has found its way into modern culture, appearing in author Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, “Slaughterhouse-Five” and on the album cover of Neil Young’s “Re-ac-tor.”

“Have it your way,” reads the Burger King commercial, and sadly a lot of us seem to take it literally.

We’re not automatons or machines but simply human beings with all the accompanying faults and failings, and we can’t be everything to everyone.

We can only be true to ourselves and do the best we can.

One of the first things my parents taught me was the Golden Rule, which basically says “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”

That’s another life lesson I have referred to a great deal to keep me level during my roller coaster life.

I’m not a preacher or philosopher, nor do I play either one on TV, but I’m just a normal guy just trying to make a difference when I can.

A dear friend and mentor, the late Roy Moore, labored at The Gazette-Virginian newspaper for more than half a century.

When faced with a difficult project, Roy was known to say, “I’ll do the best I can do, and that’s all I can do.” 

If only we could all feel the same way.