Serenity Prayer for parents of unvaccinated kiddos

When the pandemic started, my husband was the nervous one. He bought masks first, he sanitized the groceries. He didn’t want the kids to play outside with their friends. He watched the case numbers and the death numbers rise every day. I walked beside him with a “Wait, what?” expression and tried to understand the changes that were unfolding in our lives.

With the vaccine, we all felt liberated.

But now, in this phase of the pandemic, I’ve taken on the role of worrier. Mike is invincible. I’m terrified for our 10-year-old, the little one who can’t get vaccinated yet. Mask wearing will never come back the way it was during mandates. Our school district has said nothing useful about how it will protect our kids. The Delta variant continues to mutate.

I feel vulnerable telling you I’m terrified. Some voice in my head is saying I should be cool headed and if I’m terrified it’s because I’m not healthy enough. The truth is, I’m not sure if catastrophic thinking is getting the best of me, or if the fear is warranted. The numbers were low and now they aren’t. Kids weren’t getting sick in high numbers, and now that number is climbing. We were vaccinating at a fast clip, and then we weren’t.

Father Clay wrote a lot about fear, much of it in the context of letting go of our fears as they get in our way. But this one, this fear for my child’s safety in a world that is bored with COVID – how much of that do I let go of and how much do I use to guide my actions? I guess I pray. For vaccine approval for little kids and for the wisdom of our school district leaders and the compassion of the world at large? Yes…and for help staying grounded and keeping perspective when my fear creeps up. To be a good and grounded parent even when I feel completely out of control.

God grant me the courage to send my precious person out to live her life. The wisdom to do it as safely as possible. And the serenity to know I can’t make anyone else get the vaccine.

Here’s a meditation that helps me when the fear creeps up.

Love always wins

Don’t hesitate to pray. Prayer is wonderful, but it is not a way to get God to do what we want. It is so much more than that. Prayer allows the infinite love that is God to work in us. It helps us become co-creators with the great love. We are joined to the creative love that is God, so it can bring us, the world, and the universe into completion. God is love.

We can pray about this. Just sit back and relax. Close your eyes and keep your back straight. Breathe slowly and deeply, slowly, and deeply. Let the cares, the worries, the fears, the hates, the angers, the vengeance, the cruelty, the bitterness, loneliness despair and depression fall away.

We are surrounded by Love, the love we name God. That love holds us, embraces us, cradles us, looks at us tenderly and with compassion. That love lives deep within our souls and bubbles up with powerful, healing energy.

Loving mystery and gracious love, help us to trust in the love that you are. Though understanding fully is impossible for us, help us to believe – for believing in you, in a way, is the same as believing in love, and believing that the world we live in is not a cruel joke where there is no place for hope, only despair.

In the end, believing in you reminds us that love always wins – not in the short run, but always in the long run. The more we allow the love that you are to enter into us, change us, and transform us, the deeper and the happier we will become. We will still have problems of worries, fears, and sins, but a deeper peace will come.

Help us to realize that the love that you are is working in us and our whole universe all the time to bring us to the loving conclusion.

So loving God, at his moment, we surrender ourselves to you. Work in us and change us any way you choose. We trust in the love that you are.

God bless you.

From the homily “Is it hard to believe,” in Awesome Love by Father John Clay, © 2013

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