Searching for Grace

The past few months I have been restless for reasons I do not know. I wake up tired. I go by my day-to-day exhausted. I go home drained. And the very moment before I fall asleep, I am far beyond exhausted. I am unsure why I have this heavy feeling for how many months now. If there is anything good that it has brought me, it would be finding peace whenever I close my eyes and start a conversation to the Guy up there.

I was reminded by the Priest this evening of a common prayer a lot of people recite and know by heart because of its brevity:

“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.”

It has been a while since I last recited it, myself. For the longest time I haven’t spoken those few lines though how simple, though how concise and captures all that I am feeling now. And I think it is because of that realization during Mass that I remembered some moments that took place during my exchange in 2011.

I remember how in every Church/Cathedral/Basilica I went, I prayed for the same thing. It all started during my second day when we first went to the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle de Rennes found in the city center of Rennes as soon as you come up from the Metro.

I remember offering a candle and prayed the same thing I would then pray for the countless other religious places my friends and I would visit.

“God, I ask for the grace to know my life’s direction,

and the strength and courage to steer it until I reach my destination.”

It was the same prayer I recited when I then went to Notre Dame de Paris, Duomo di Milano, Domschatzkammer Köln, Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano, La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre and the Basilique Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire.

I have only realized now, after three years, that I have been praying for the strength for me to control my life independently. For the past three years only have I actually noticed that I have been asking for the grace to basically be the one in-charge of my life, free from any support from anyone else. I only realized now that after having hearing Mass hundreds of times since I first asked for that grace, and for asking it too during my daily prayers, that I have been praying to be independently traversing through life.

This realization, however, has allowed me to better understand the mistake in how I am living my life. I have been too obsessed with finding comfort in being alone that I have not been able to truly maintain and strengthen relationships with people around me. I have been too obsessed with always pleasing people that I forget about my personal needs and wants. I have been consumed worrying about the future that I forget to have fun, to enjoy life, and to make the most out of today.

I have been told countless times that I’m young and I shouldn’t be making a great big deal of what’s down the road. I am always reminded that it is perfectly fine to set goals for myself, but at the same time, recognize things happen along the way, roadblocks will sometimes come my way and I will never always have control of what happens in life. I am constantly told to give myself a break, for me to step back and just appreciate the things I have accomplished, and to savor them. And at times that I beat myself too much, when I’m too harsh on myself for failing even a tiny bit, I am often “scolded” to not be such a critic, to not cry over “spilled milk”… And I do acknowledge all those. And I do have a mental note of each and everything people tell me. The difficulty is for me to embrace it.

I do not know but I feel like there’s always an existing pressure for me to reach some high standard. I think it all started in High School  and even if all external pressure have actually gone away, I think I have been built to just pressure myself too much. I have been geared to just be hard on myself, and to keep on going constantly even if there’s really nothing out there, even if I know that at the end of everything, it’ll just be me, standing still, broken.

And I guess, this is why I’m thankful for the Priest for this evening’s Mass…for reminding me of the Serenity prayer, mainly because it is spot on to my life right now.

“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.”

And I hope I do receive serenity, courage and wisdom and when I do, I hope it will lead me to feel better, to feel more at peace, and at the end, stronger because I know I have strengthened my relationship with God, and because I have opened myself, and have strengthened my relationships with the people around me.

Searching for Grace

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