ericka-clayI often liken my life to episodes of Seinfeld.  There was “The Summer of Ericka” where I lounged around the house in my underwear and only took to removing my behind from the couch to rifle through the fridge.  Then there was the time when I pulled an Elaine and dated a Puddy wannabe, prompting my parents to long for “The Summer of Ericka.”  Plus, I’m a riot.  Just like Jerry.  Okay, fine. Kramer.

But one of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld is when George’s dad, Frank Castanza, opts to manage his anger by screeching “Serenity, Now!” whenever life proceeds to kick him where it hurts.  And I’m not talking about his tootsies.

Serenity, for me, is like Big Foot.  I’ve watched all those shows about serenity traipsing through the woods and even seen black and white footage of serenity’s crisply defined foot print set in a muddy path, but I’m starting to think serenity is a figment of Hollywood’s imagination.  At the very least it’s been having a hard time finding my front door.

By nature, I’m relatively laid back.  Snort.  Okay, fine.  I tell people I’m laid back when in reality I’m wound tighter than my mother.  Sorry mom, but it’s true.  I have a hard time letting the little things go, because for me, nothing’s tiny enough to swish right off my back.  In fact, it seems like every “little” thing likes to pile high up on my shoulders to the point of anchoring me tight into the ground.  I feel like I’m never getting anywhere and to be frank, the feeling sucks.

But bits and pieces of memory are coming back.  I remember high school and gathering for our prayer assembly and listening to everyone burst into spontaneous cough attacks when Mrs. Carver, our phony-baloney religion teacher started talking into the mic (hey it wasn’t nice, but she wasn’t either). But I also remember the serenity prayer we’d pray, the way I’d feel relieved after saying it, reminding myself that I’m not the only pair of shoulders in this big ‘ol world.

The thought is still intoxicating.  Even when Ava’s pulling down my shirt in public to reveal my spaghetti stained bra or the dogs have taken to chewing, well, everything, my shoulders start to relax when I whisper the prayer and see my daughter smiling, my dogs playing in the afternoon sun streaming through our windows and my husband telling me I’ve been given this life because no one could manage it better.

The Process

I think of myself as diamond,
perhaps pure gold.
Maybe my life is an antique vase,
unique, precious, and rare.
Consider the point it which they all began.
Think of the process each went through.
Each test of life has shaped me.
Failure has polished the diamond I am.
The tragedy purified my golden finish.
Another love lost has moulded me like clay,
and shaped me into this lovely vase.
You have given me strength
to overcome stress and change,
only to make my faith stronger in the end.

- Alissa McLeod


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