“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can NOT change”
I have to confess something. I stole this illustration…from myself.
Let me explain. Shortly after buying that 1934 Websters Dictionary, I looked up the word “unmanageable”. Its roots led to a horseback riding ring called a “manege”. A horseback rider would prove their mastery of the animal by putting it through series of tests. The maneuvers are chosen because a horse normally does not want to do them. Thus, the rider is proving a point by persuading the horse to do them. Hence, they are “maneging” the horse. Or something like that.
Inspired by that word, I decided to illustrate what an “unmanageable” horse would be like. The beast would ignore its rider’s wishes and go wherever it wanted. When the rider tried to turn left, the horse would go right. When the rider wanted to stop, the horse would charge forward. My drawing showed a rider losing the ability to manage their horse. Eventually, it heads directly into the fence of the manege and knocks it down…. carrying the helpless rider with it. I felt pretty confident that my drawing fit the word perfectly.
But as I illustrated the Serenity Prayer, I drew a total blank on the word “Not”. The definition: “Not adv. makes negative a word or group of words”. That’s not exactly heart-pounding prose, so I went through a session of prayer and meditation to seek a new illustration. However, nothing new came. That puzzled me. I kept trying but with no results.
Finally, I recognized something. I had already made the right drawing in “unmanageable”. That word appears in the Twelve Steps, not in the Serenity Prayer. Still, it matched the spirit of the “not” definition perfectly. After some initial reluctance, I finally retitled the equine drawings with the “Not” definition.
The person in my drawing had managed to guide their mount over several fences. However, at the very end, the results changed for the worse. This made negative the words: “I can always manage my horse.”
That shoe fit. So I wore it….. so to speak.