The Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, change the things can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
God Grant me serenity and wisdom.
10 things I cannot change:
1. I cannot change my age. I did not create the ageist attitudes that afflict this culture but I can change the way I respond to them. I don’t have to believe that growing older is a tragic personal failure.
2. I cannot change the political choices made by my countrymen. But I don’t have to be silent when I believe those choices are destructive and wrong. I can work with other people to enact a political agenda that is more consistent with my beliefs.
3. I cannot change the history of slavery in the United States. But I can change the present. I will be alert to the emergence of new forms of slavery and do my best to resist them.
4. I cannot change racism but I don’t have to silently agree to pretend that it doesn’t exist or that it is justified.
5. I cannot change the homophobia of other people but as a gay man I can work to become the best person I can be as a way to counteract it in myself.
6. I cannot change homelessness but I can resist blaming the victims. I can use my intellect and my skills as an artist and writer to state and restate my profound conviction that homelessness is a crime against humanity.
7. I cannot change the stigma against people with psychiatric illnesses but I don’t have to allow it to define or limit me.
8. I cannot change the cruelty of my past or the betrayal of my trust as a child. But I can change my present and my future; I do not have to tolerate or accept destructive people who betray my trust.
9. I cannot change the mistakes I made in ignorance; but I can accept responsibility for the pain I’ve caused and humbly and without expectations offer my apologies.
10. I cannot change that I dissociate and have episodes of depression. But I don’t have to accept the lie that these problems are the result of personal failure or weakness. I can see that it takes strength and resilience to survive and thrive in this world, and that I have plenty of both.
RG (c) 2015 All Rights Reserved
All images (c) Rob Goldstein 2015 All Rights Reserved
Graffiti art photographed in San Francisco by Rob Goldstein