If you are/were a Seinfeld junkie like me, you will remember “The Serenity Now” episode. It aired in the United States on October 9, 1997. Frank Costanza, Jerry’s friend’s father, was advised to say “Serenity Now” every time he got angry in order to keep his blood pressure down.
This episode’s plot was inspired by Seinfeld writer Steve Koren’s real-life events. While driving with his arguing parents, Koren was bewildered to hear his father shout “Serenity now” at the top of his lungs as part of a rage-controlling exercise his doctor had told him about. He then questioned his dad whether or not the phrase was meant to be yelled as Frank Costanza also does on the show.
I need some serenity in my life. For many years, I have sporadically attended yoga, which is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices of disciplines that originated in India. It has become popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world. I’d say it helps.
I now have a waterfall in my sunroom and wind chimes right outside on my deck. I am trying to get there.
I also say the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) which includes:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…”
Then there is Karma, derived from India meaning action, word, or deed and which also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of the individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. Well, it must be real. Karma took a bite out of me.
Once, in the late 1980’s while having an early morning breakfast at McDonald’s, I spotted an attractive older gentleman. This refined man with his bald head was with a darling little girl who I supposed to be his granddaughter because of the age difference. Thinking I was complementing him on his descendant, I commented, “What a darling grandchild.” He shot back, “Shame on you. This is my daughter.” I hadn’t expected that.
Even with those good intentions, Karma came knocking in 1993 to get back at me. I was 40 when our second child arrived. My dear, dear friends who knew how long we attempted to have a second child were thrilled for us and gave a baby shower for me which included so many girlfriends from far and wide. I was overwhelmed by the number that arrived and with the outpouring of happiness and love for my family. I brought our 2-month-old addition for everyone to see. We already had an 8-year-old son, I had returned to my teaching position, I was tired all the time, and I looked it. And I cried a lot. That shower was no exception as my heart was so full (and exhausted).
Getting low on diapers for the following week, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home. I looked a mess. My makeup had dripped down the front of my face and I hadn’t slept much the night before from dealing with a 2-month old during the previous night.
Checking out, a young man bagged my groceries and then asked if he could assist me to my car as it had started raining. He had an umbrella and I had a baby and buggy full of groceries. Of course he could help. As he pushed my cart for me while I’m holding the baby and the umbrella for all of us, he said,
WAIT FOR IT…
“Is this your grandbaby?”
Although he never knew why, all I said to him was, “I deserve that.”