What I Can Change | Philip Silvey
Philip Silvey - composer
What I Can Change - Words and Music by Philip E. Silvey

Here in my world, my inherited world,
Sometimes I wish things were different,
Wondering if things could be different.

But here in my world there are some things I did not choose,
People have done things I cannot undo.
But I can grow to accept them,
Learn how to be at peace with them
And to focus upon what I can change.

Here in my life, in my everyday life
I’ve come to see I make choices.
Who will I be? I have choices!

For here in my life there are some things left up to me,
I can become things I decide to be.
Help me to have the courage,
Learn how to build my self image,
Have the good sense to know what I can change.

Help me to know the difference between what’s out of my hands
And what’s in my command, have the courage to change what I can,
What I can change.

I can change, I can, I can change.

– Philip Silvey

In the early 1930s, American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr first penned the words that became the “serenity prayer” that many recite today to put things in perspective. I have come to appreciate this three-part meditation and the value of simply asking for courage and wisdom. In my adaptation of the prayer, I used everyday language to make it more universal. In the musical West Side Story, the drugstore owner rebukes a group of ill-behaving teens, crying “You make this world lousy,” to which one retorts, “We didn’t make it.” All of us find ourselves in a world we didn’t make, facing circumstances we didn’t choose. We can, however, learn to accept what we are given and do what we can to become the kind of people we want to be. At times in the lyrics, I purposefully shifted the words in the title to form the new phrase “change what I can” and the shortened declaration “I can change.” These affirmations highlight the capacity we all have to bravely write the remaining chapters of our stories.

Duration: 3:10

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Copyright © 2022 Philip E. Silvey