Friday, February 10, 2006

The Knowing

As I've mentioned before, I love the Serenity Prayer - to change the things you can, let go of the things you can't change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

That last part is frustrating. The knowing. As you know, I've had an undependable cable Internet connection for a month now. It would go in and out with no pattern and no predictability. Well, of course, I assumed it must be something I had done. I unplugged everything and plugged it back in. I made sure connections were tight and secure. I unplugged the wireless router and tried different cords. I had my son-in-law walk me through Mac network configurations. I called Matt constantly, begging for help.

Oh, I had already made an appointment with the cable provider, Adelphia, but that was a week away and I wanted it fixed NOW.

I couldn't even estimate how much time I spent trying to figure out things to experiment with. I unplugged the whole system and tried to move it to the exercise room and plug it in up there. I tried everything. Still, the Internet would come and go. Once the connection came back on immediately when I did some re-plugging, and I thought, All right! I fixed it! Then, of course, in a few minutes it was out again, so it was just coincidence.

I even went to Radio Shack and bought another modem, thinking maybe that would do it. Alas, Adelphia somehow knew I was trying to hook up an "unauthorized" modem, according to the message I got on the screen. I returned the modem.

Adelphia finally came yesterday. I was disheartened to see that I had my Internet connection when he got here. I was so afraid he would say, "Well, everything appears to be working; I'm leaving." But he checked the system out and found out that the cable had come loose from the pole outside. He spent about an hour here and fixed everything. Yay - I have reliable Internet again!

The frustrating part of it all was that I did not know if I had the power to change the situation or not. In the end, there was nothing I could have done, other than climb up the pole myself.
I spent a lot of time for nothing, all because I didn't know.

Some things we just know we can't change. I can't change Ed's aggravatingly slow energy level, I can't be assured the house will sell this spring, I can't go back and rewind my life and live it better, I can't be taller. No use worrying and fretting over that stuff. Some things we know good and well we can change, but for obscure reasons we haven't attempted the change. Other things are cloudy - do we have the power to change something or not? Might as well try.

I think that's one of the hardest parts of the Serenity Prayer. Knowing whether or not the energy and time you invest in an action can really effect change or not. So much of life, it seems to me, is operating blindly. Some of our greatest heroes in the past have lived and died without realizing the difference they made, whether their efforts were worth it, whether their lives made any difference. Years later, we realize they did make a difference. Even without that assurance, they did what they felt they had to do, whether it was compose music or lead a movement.

I guess that's just life. We have no guarantees, and sometimes we just don't know exactly what we have the capability of changing unless we try. Sometimes we are disappointed, and sometimes we are flat out astonished at the results.

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