4. Accept

Twelve Illustrations of words from the Serenity Prayer

“God grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things I cannot change.”
        My 12 drawings of the Serenity Prayer were not created in any certain order. The 1934 Websters dictionary sat on my desk for months and I was not methodical about choosing which word to look up next. In fact, I was not yet convinced there would be twelve suitable words in the prayer. The word “Accept” was a good case in point.
        The definition: “Accept v. to receive with an assenting mind”.
        Here was a good, solid description that contained nothing out of the ordinary. It seemed I had found a definition which added absolutely nothing to my understanding of the Serenity Prayer.
        Then the word “mind” caught my eye. One of the defining characteristic of an alcoholic (and by extension any addict) includes a certain insanity of the mind (Big Book of AA, p. 37). In my own recovery, I knew that the solution involved undergoing a dramatic personality change with the help of a Higher Power. Part of that change would surely require that I receive new ideas with an assenting mind. 
        It was hard to imagine an illustration showing an assenting mind; what that would look like? As I sometimes do when brainstorming, I tried to image the mirror opposite of the idea—a mind that rejected everything coming towards it…..like an umbrella fending off raindrops. That seemed like a good comparison, but it wasn’t quite right. 
        I needed a rain acceptor, not a rain rejector! I began to  wonder what a rain acceptor might look like…a gutter on a house? Nah. The gutter idea stirred nothing in my heart. (While sober, I pay close attention to my instincts, because my heart is my best instrument for getting closer to the Higher Power.) Then it hit me. Acceptance is meaningless without the ability to reject. Acceptance can only exist if the option to reject is also present. I cannot really say “yes” unless I truly have an option to say “no”. So, I flipped my “rain rejector” upside down in my mind. There it was…..
        A rain ACCEPTOR!
        I quickly started sketching and soon I was looking at the most improbable drawing I had ever created; a man, leaning out a window and turning his open umbrella upside down so he can collect raindrops. The end-result was an unexpected scene, but not an implausible one. It was something I could easily imagine seeing someday, no matter how unlikely. Although I am the creator of the drawing, I do not know why anyone would do this; I must accept such little mysteries the same as you.
        This drawing reminds me of how I decided to take my stubborn mind and turned it toward a completely new purpose. It went beyond intellectualism and took root somewhere in my own spirit. The change I had hoped for was possible…. I could change….. I could BE changed. 
        I am an ordinary person. But having this small miracle worked upon my insane mind was extraordinary. 


  1. Terrence Ross on August 28, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    It looks like there were other comments. It would be cool if users could see the comments, but maybe there are short and sweet, like how great this website is. It is.

    This reminded me of the lines from Timothy in the Bible:

    For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

    Timothy 1:7

  2. Terrence Ross on August 28, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Above usually rendered in the simplified form:

    “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

  3. Terrence Ross on August 31, 2022 at 5:41 am

    So this was my page and image for today. I hadn’t read the text before, nor did I see the guy. I only saw the umbrella and thought it was lying, by itself, on a sidewalk.

    By reading the text I saw the fellow at the edge, holding the umbrella out the window. (My eyesight is not great).

    I wonder what you thought now, when I described what I thought was a discarded umbrella?

    I thought the drawing depicted a discarded umbrella, discard the mind, I thought–but in this case I see you are perhaps saying turn the mind upside down.

    I don’t know how I feel about the feeling of holding the umbrella outside the window. It feels uncomfortable. It feels off balance. On the other hand I do see
    what the drawing says–turn the mind upside down. If the rain is everything that I reject and the umbrella is the mind….

    I’ll have to come back this one and read it again. I am having a hard time, now, accepting what the drawing actually is. I still see the completely discarded
    umbrella. The drawing I saw was me walking down the street without the umbrella. The ultimate New Yorker! F**k the rain, f**k your hair lady, I am throwing
    away my mind. I am part of everything. I accept everything.

    I will come back to this one. I am not done.


    Terrence R.

Leave a Comment