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By Shari Crall

Acceptance is the key to everything.

That’s the mantra I typed into the reminders on my cell phone as I watched two mother-in-laws and my mother take on the last chapters of their lives. One planned carefully ahead as her macular degeneration worsened, knowing the end of driving was coming and choosing an independent to assisted living format with a shuttle bus and lots of on campus activities. She downsized, prioritizing what was most important and let go of the rest.

The next one also moved to acceptance pretty quickly as an unaffordable assessment for a new roof at her condo sent her downsizing and moving across country to be near to us. Her rushed exit meant she moved with too much which had to be sold off once she arrived, but she settled in pretty well. Now however, as she faces daily stairs at 88, she is struggling to let go of two bedrooms with two large closets to move into a one story.

My own Mom did not go quietly. With limited mobility as she aged, my Dad was the legs of the operation. His first broken hip forced downsizing and one story living, the second broken hip forced assisted living and an emergency move during CoVID, where their belongings never followed.

My friend summarized this as, “It is better to move five years too early than five minutes too late.” Through my observations, I was feeling pretty smug with my serenity prayer zen. I would move quickly to acceptance and get on with things.

WORDLE has blown this smugness out of the water. For those who don’t play the 5 letter, 6 try word game, if you guess a correct letter, the square turns yellow, and once you get a letter in the correct placement, the box turns green. Yet, even in this simplest form, I have a hard time with acceptance. Even though I know the green square is a factual clue, that will not change, that it indicates the “E” is in the 5th square, my mind thinks up multiple choices where I would get the word, IF the “E” were not in the fifth square.

Mad that I have met an immovable, I literally have a lengthy internal conversation about this before settling down to acceptance. It may come from my social work background and the plaque on my desk that turns the serenity prayer on its head. It reads, “Accept the things you cannot change, change what you can’t accept.” This is a must for those of us working in bureaucracies who are always looking for a work around.

Apparently, I have a lot of work to do. Smugness is never left unassailed. Sometimes there is not a work around and moves are rushed, hips are broken, and money gets tight. Regardless.

Acceptance is the key to everything.

About Shari Crall

Shari Crall is a native of the Chicago suburbs. She has lived her adult life in Southern California where she raised four children with her husband Chris. She recently retired from a career in social work. She holds a BA in political science from BYU and an MSW from SDSU. She spent over a decade writing a column for her local newspaper, titled The Crall Space. She has blogged for Segullah for several years and been published in LDS outlets like Exponent II, a BYU Women's Conference collection, and most recently in Living on the Inside of the Edge by author Christian Kimball.

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