God grant me the serenity to abide* the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Or, in its most likely original form:
Father, give us courage to change what must be altered,
serenity to accept what cannot be helped,
and the insight to know the one from the other.
I like “cannot be helped,” because it implies that there are things that not only can I not change, but no one can. For some, there is no help. The helpless and hopeless will exist; they can not all be saved. That is just a truth we must carry even as we do what we are able for the rest.
*Accept isn’t my word for 2011, but Abide is and it works as well