In the book The Secret Life of Bees there is a character named May who I can identify with in small part. She had a problem of taking ownership of others problems. Any time May heard about tragic events in the world she would launch into deep dispair.
May’s coping mechanism was a stone wall she built. She would write down the stories she heard on slips of paper, deposit them into the stone wall, and weep until she could let go of her grief.
Recently I have heard sad stories from the lives of people around me. I have felt anguish and sorrow on their behalf. I told Richard I needed a wall like May’s. A place to let go of all the problems I observe that I am not capable of solving.
But he pointed out that it didn’t really work for May.
I have quoted it before and will likely quote it again, because the Serenity Prayer is my default wisdom for times like this.
“GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…
Taking, as He did, this…world as it is, not as I would have it…”