It is mid-morning on a nearly empty street corner in a remote, medium-sized town when Milt runs into one of his best friends, Fred. Little do these two men know, but their improbable rendezvous will bring both of them inner strength and hope.
Both men are in their eighties, but each is blessed with good health. Being retired, they don’t always have a chance to catch up on news.
Milt is a widower, who lost his beloved Sharon several years back. Fred’s lovely wife, Judy, struggles with many chronic health concerns.
The two friends continue to visit on the deserted street corner. Milt tells Fred, “I am really concerned about this virus news.” As he speaks, both men realize they need to stand a bit farther apart due to reminders in the news about social distancing.
Milt replies back, “Me, too. I guess we have lots of company.” Both men have been overly cautious about being safe with their exposure to the disease.
Fred shares news from home about his bride of 61 years. He continues talking to Milt, “I am really worried about Sharon. Her health is very fragile, and I hope she can weather the storm ahead with this virus out there.”
Milt looks across at his friend, and he sees the deep worries of concern and anxiety in Fred’s face. Milt asks, “May I pray for you?” Milt nods in agreement.
In closing the prayer, Milt shares a special prayer with his long-time friend: “God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Before the men depart and continue with their day’s journey, Fred shares a verse from one of his favorite Psalms (27:1): “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
The Serenity Prayer was originally written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The most common version of the prayer was published in 1951, but Niebuhr used variations of the prayer in sermons as early as 1934. In the story, Milt adapted the prayer to fit the situation.