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serenity… and what it has to do with chaos.

For those of you who have been constant readers here, you will recall that I have been undergoing a major re-do of the house here. In a former life I lived here with a hoarder, and have just recently gotten around to totally erasing all signs of his being here.

With the help of a few close friends.

Now what does this have to do with the Serenity Prayer you ask?

Flash back to the time years ago when I first began really reading the Serenity Prayer … and trying to incorporate it into my life.

For anyone who is not familiar with the prayer, it goes like this …

God, grant me the serenity to
accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

And in general, I have found it to work like this …

Things I cannot change = Everybody and everything else = Accept it
Things I can change = Me = Change it
Know the difference = Is it me, or isn’t it? = Know it

And for the most part … read: when I do it … it works pretty well.

But for a long time I had a lot of chaos going on in my life. This was decades ago … way back in the days of the divorce and a whole lot of other chaos.

I hung onto the Serenity Prayer for dear life. The first line of it, that is. Accepting all the garbage that was going on … and remaining calm in the midst of it. All the abusive stuff. All the chaotic stuff. All of it.

Wood-2-300x223It was a lot like the little girl … Susan … in the Miracle on 34th Street … calmly sitting in the back seat of the car as it drives down the street, saying:

I believe… I believe… It’s silly, but I believe.

Only in my case the world was falling down around my ankles while I was calmly saying “I am serene, I am serene, I don’t know why, but I am serene”.

Until finally something truly amazing happened … not a good amazing … and not a story for here right now … but I was shocked into realizing that the Serenity Prayer did not consist of one line.  There was that second line.

Change the things I can.

In which I have to actually get myself into gear and do something about the situation … other than calmly accept it.

Now flash forward to today. And a friend posted that her task of the day was going to be to tackle a room that had eluded her. Read: The room she had given up on. The Dining Room.

Several hours later came the post: “Dining room is thoroughly de-hoarded, dusted and vacuumed.  All furniture is either in my living room or pushed to one corner.  Anybody wanna scrub carpets?”

I posted: Better idea, take up the carpets and sand the floor underneath with a drum sander … paint the walls and have a new room. That’s what I’ve been doing in my old house here.

She lives in a house that was built in the late 1900’s. I am sure there are good hardwoods underneath.

Third friend added: True dat!  New paint and flooring make a world of difference.  Starting to redo our place…room by room.

Friend posts: Eventually, the carpet is coming out and I’m getting wood laminate floors …

A discussion ensued of our various exploits re-doing houses and ended up with me giving links to the pictures of my humble house changing efforts here and here. I was thinking … hey, if I can do it anyone can do it.

With the help of a few close friends.

This was where the Serenity Prayer came into play.

Third friend says: Just started looking through the pictures!  The results are beautiful.  I laughed out loud when I saw that you call your home “Casa Chaos”.  Much more charming than my “Mountain Meadow”.

Seems I had called my house Casa Chaos … appropriate … for obvious reasons. I lived with a hoarder. And we are talking about me here, after all.

She named her house based on some obvious things in her life. Kind of like a friend of mine whose last name was Trout. She lived on River Road. And she was having a baby girl … whom she wanted to name Brooke.


The friend of the Dining Room posted: Mine is “La Maison de Serente’ ” … Because I find serenity here amongst the chaos.

Memories flashed through my mind. Chaotic memories. Sad memories. Then empowering memories. And I realized that the same kind of thing had happened here with my house … all these years later.

And I posted: I did that whole serenity amongst the chaos thing for years … peace in the midst of trouble … calm in the midst of the storm. (Then I discovered the SECOND line of the Serenity Prayer)

This house now is MUCH calmer, peaceful and serene. Makes me smile every time I walk around here. Thanks to the help of a few good friends. So if you decide you want a friend … with a rented drum sander … just let me know.

That second line of the Serenity Prayer is dynamite.

But even more so when there are a few good friends to help you implement it.