Acceptance is step one

Age comes with its pluses and minuses.  So far, I have far more in the plus column than in the minus side, I’m happy to report.  Having practiced gratitude for many years, I can usually find something positive in every experience, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle at times.  Having been an avid reader all of my life,  books have been one of my great sources of pleasure.  Thus, accepting the reality of my sight issues has been challenging.

Step One is the acceptance step.  Admittedly, we are powerless over whatever our problem simply makes our lives unmanageable. Having been part of a 12-step program for over 40 years, I’ve admitted I am losing my sight and have been to the eye doctor.  As a result, there is a very good possibility I will be accepted into an NIH trial program.  If not, I am grateful to have insurance and the means to do what’s needed!  If I’m accepted into the trial program, that even gives my sight issues a purpose…helping other people.  In the meantime, I am choosing to appreciate each and every day, drinking in the beauty of our surroundings, reading large print books or my Kindle, sewing when able, etc.

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We’ve all heard the saying, “Every journey begins with the first step.” Before anything can change, we have to accept the reality of what is.  Denial gets us nowhere.  Once I realized something was wrong…the signs at first were subtle and easy to excuse…I went to the eye doctor.  Far too often, we put off admitting there’s a problem, seeing a doctor, or talking to someone.  Even admitting there is a problem.  Instead, we silently worry, but as Jesus observed, worry is futile. Instead, we can look at life from the perspective that every rose has its thorns.  No matter how beautiful one’s life may be, there will always be the thorns that accompany every rose.  In the end, it’s often the thorns that make living so rich and meaningful.

Step One is so critical because nothing can happen until we accept what is.  Of course, instead of seeking alternatives, we can feel sorry for ourselves and actually look for the worst possible things that can happen.  Life is filled with negatives, but then it is also filled with positives.  It’s a matter of perspective.  Instead of accepting what is as all there is, we can accept what is and then start looking for the hidden benefits…like the NIH study I may be fortunate enough to be part of.  Even if not, there are treatments for my condition.  But, and this but is important, we need to make any and all changes needed to adapt and improve our situation.  Unless the alcoholic stops drinking, he will never experience sobriety.  Unless the diabetic follows a reasonable diet and takes his meds, his sugars will spike, and he will be miserable.  If we’re always negative and bitter, people will avoid us. And so it goes.

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.

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Lex McMillan
Lex McMillan
2 months ago

I am deeply grateful for Joyce Shutt’s wisdom. May God continue to bless her.

Kathy Platzer
Kathy Platzer
2 months ago

This article can be effectively applied to any problem. When a difficult decision is necessary, really the only way to make that decision is to recognize the problem, and wholly accept it. Reading Joyce Shutt’s wise advice this morning has been remarkably helpful to me. Thank you, Joyce.

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