As I get older (and thank God I am getting older) I am coming to understand that there are many things in life that are completely outside my control and that is all rright. Just two weeks ago my wife and I remarked that the leaves on the trees didn't seem to be changing much this fall. Then ten days later the change was incredible. Brilliant colors seemed to be everywhere and it had happened so quickly. The timing and the process was completely independent of anything from me.
Recently I went to San Francisco for a conference. The weather was bright and sunny the entire four days of the event. The conference and the good weather ended on Friday. Since our daughter lives in California, my wife and I stayed over the weekend to visit with her. We had a wonderful time together in spite of the constant rain all day Saturday and Sunday.
I visited a friend in the hospital last week and we talked about how wonderful it was to have good health and how fragile life is. One day he was feeling fine and the next thing you know he is confined to a hospital bed as result of nothing that he had done. Of course, we can eat healthy and get plenty of exercise, but there are hereditary and other factors that we cannot control.
A few days ago a colleague told me about a problem his wife had with her iPhone. It would not function properly after she completed a recommended software update. They could not figure it out so they took it to a technician. The "expert" did not know why this problem occurred but said that if they would perform the update again the problem would probably be solved. They did and it was.
Tomorrow is Election Day. Our responsibility is to go to the polls and cast our votes. That is how we can have some effect on the outcome, but the truth is the results will be due to factors mostly beyond our control.
In my awareness of the things that are beyond my control, I am reminded of Reinhold Neibuhr's 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."
[Taken with permission from "Monday Morning in North Georgia," Nov. 1, 2010. North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.]