Blogs

Reflections of the ministers and senior staff.

Blogs

Reflections of the ministers and senior staff.

The Peace of Wild Things

Ahhh… we’re finally getting a delightful taste of crisp weather! The shortening days signal the transition to a fall season with glorious leaf color, bird migrations and fresh scented air. Upcoming elections and world political, social and economic challenges may create greater uncertainty that can add to the stressors of daily living. I believe as we honor these feelings and intentionally seek ways to minimize our stress we can face most any situation. Life’s difficulties are made a bit easier when we can share them amongst one another in a caring community – chalice circles, covenant, affinity, or faith/focus groups.

Need a hand? … Lend a hand!

If you need a hand, you may fill out a ‘JSM Card’ (Joy, Sorrow, Milestone) located in the pews or on the counter in the gallery, and place the card in the locked box nearby, or in the offering plate. You may also email your information to The Care Ministries team can offer some support.

If you can lend a hand, please stop by the Care Ministries table during coffee hour and sign up to become part of the Care Ministries team to provide a meal, ride, card or phone call.

In the days ahead, I invite you to pause, BREATHE… spend time outdoors in the natural world… simply allow yourself to rest in the sights and sounds around you. And may you experience a peace within you, as expressed by Wendell Berry in this poem. The Peace of Wild Things When despair for the world grows in meand I wake in the night at the least soundin fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,I go and lie down where the wood drakerests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.I come into the peace of wild thingswho do not tax their lives with forethoughtof grief. I come into the presence of still water.And I feel above me the day-blind starswaiting with their light. For a timeI rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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Good Grief

Good grief! We, in NC, know the magnitude of Hurricane Florence’s wind and rain. Severe flooding has wreaked havoc south and east of the Triangle; and, it will take many years to recover. People, livestock, pets, fish and other wild critters are displaced. There is much to grieve in the loss of lives, homes and other structural damage. Good grief! 2000+ people are still in shelters. Many people are seeking basic survival supplies to support their families.

Good grief!  

And…as Governor Cooper surveyed the damage throughout the affected areas and extended a compassionate hand to so many people, he responded “We will get through this…One thing I know - North Carolinians are strong. North Carolinians are resilient. People…are helping each other. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Communities of faith are stepping up.

Good grief!   Many in our ERUUF community are experiencing grief not connected with Florence. Their grief relates to a different storm-- the inward parts of oneself–wrestling with loss of a relative, a life partner, or dear friend. Good grief! These losses are often difficult to navigate!

Yet, isn’t grieving one’s intimate loss a natural expression of love? An ongoing love of the relationship with that person who is no longer present? All parts of our physicality, spirituality, emotional state of being, cognitive awareness become jumbled as they reset into new rhythms of daily living. It is a process during which one can grow and discover that these feelings are signs of healthy grief. Good grief!

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The Inner Work of Forgiveness

Jane Fonda recently was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by director Michael Moore at the Traverse City Film Festival. She’s known for her career as an actress. Now, at age 80, she continues to be an inspiration as an activist and an elder, as she speaks for the environment and other causes.

A few months ago as part of my Sage-ing® Legacy training (Sage-ing®), I watched a TED talk in which Jane Fonda discusses Life’s Third Act. I was encouraged by her comments since her words model some of the same topics on becoming more awake and conscious. Some of this inner work is challenging and private; some is more helpful to share within a spiritual community open to wrestling with these questions of life. This work is not just for ourselves. If enough people do this inner work, it leads to a cultural shift which then leads to transformation through action combined with thought.

What is crucial in this work of self-examination is the practice of forgiveness - of self and others. It is no surprise to me that many spiritual traditions encourage this work of forgiveness. In the Jewish tradition, the month before the high holy days is a time for recalibration. Forgiveness is an ongoing process to untie our own tangles, which leads to a greater sense of freedom and self-acceptance.

We are growing into the new paradigms of the 21st century that acknowledge the constant evolution of the soul and the potential of the human being for ever greater manifestation. Each one of us has a part to play. We have the capacity to continue the deepest exploration possible for each one of us to express the essence of who we are. When we do this together in community, we bring our full selves authentically present to help transform our world.

Refreshment

I've been reflecting this month on the various ways our community finds refreshment and renewal of mind, body and spirit. June is the month UUA gathers at General Assembly, which you know well is a place and time for such refreshment.

During these summer days many vacation with their family and friends. Some choose a 'stay-cation' to rest and recharge near home, some travel to far off places, while others choose to find retreats or 'camp' style gatherings, such as Star Island and SUUSI for their refreshment. I recently attended a Jewish Renewal biannual spiritual gathering at UMass where over 500 people from across the globe joined together in community and sacred space seeking fellowship, education, and spiritual renewal.

How do we take the nuggets of these brief gatherings of refreshment that warm our hearts and minds into the rest of our daily living? I imagine each of you has your own practice that supports you. And yet, the common thread I hear from you is the joy of being in community! We share our joys, sorrows, and friendships with those we hold dear in our hearts. We are beings who need community and thrive in community, as we share common interests and causes, educational and spiritual growth within the UU framework. ERUUF is a place where we can continue to nurture the sparks that refresh us.

Our ERUUF campus, so beautifully maintained by members of our congregation, offers floral and arboreal enjoyment along with a shady walking trail including a bench for quiet meditation. There are so many opportunities for us to drink from the well of abundance that surrounds us to receive enrichment for our daily living. Perhaps you’ll choose to meet a friend, take a walk together, enjoy the fruits of your time together, here at ERUUF… in community.

 

It Takes a Village

The phrase ‘it takes a village’ is often used to describe the many ways we acknowledge the importance and value community plays in the midst of our daily lives. Here at ERUUF on a recent Tuesday afternoon, I witnessed the ‘village’ come together as the sanctuary filled with people from ERUUF and the broader community to honor Sue Coon.

Nineteen cellists gathered from Florida to DC - including some of our own ERUUFians - to provide a heartwarming one-hour concert simply because they love Sue and want to show that love through their musical offering. We listened to storytelling, jokes, words of honor and remembrance of the many ways Sue has put her mark upon the various communities of ERUUF, cello camp, workplace, and life relationships. These were woven together with the beautiful vibrations of sound to bring soulful rest to all who were present. The reception that followed was coordinated by many ERUUFians who together prepared refreshments and service for the many.Sue is living with ALS and each day is new for her as she navigates the waters of its progression. Many in her circle of friends, choir members, and Pastoral Care Associates have been supporting Sue and Conrad as her needs shift. If you would like to learn more from Sue, please go to Sue’s CaringBridge page. To assist Sue and Conrad in the future you can click on ‘ways to help’ to sign up for specific needs.

Here are Sue’s words of gratitude for the outpouring of love she experienced:

“Sue Coon and Conrad Weiser would like to thank everyone who helped with the CELLOBRATION on May 15. Our hearts were warmed by All of the support and love. Special thanks to Deb Cayer, Stacy Grove, Kevin Badanes, Daphne RHODES And Lenora Harris-Field. Plus to everyone else who helped, and of course to my cello buddies. We really appreciated such a meaningful event. Thank you so much!"

Thank YOU, Sue, for the many ways you touch our lives!

Healing Walk

Currently in Nebraska, I am participating in the Ancestral Healing Walk from Rosebud, SD to Ft Laramie, WY culminating April 29th when we process into the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) treaty camp that will be gathering at the fort. It is a remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the 1868 Treaty with US government and Native American tribes. I write this as we begin the 11th day and 200+ miles of walking this beautiful land - for forgiveness of the actions of past generations that have so greatly impacted our US history and the continued healing for those who walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. I walk with the descendants of General William Harney and Little Thunder family.

As we began the walk, I witnessed a special ancient Lakota “Hunka” ceremony in which these Little Thunder descendants ‘adopted’ the man whose ancestor was responsible for taking the lives of their ancestors. “The ceremony binds each to his Hunka by ties of fidelity stronger than friendship, brotherhood, or family.” I was moved to tears by their tenderness and humility; I’ve watched these people journey these past few years, from fear of meeting one another to embracing one another and their shared history.

We continue expanding this unique intergenerational community, beginning and ending each day’s walk in circle with prayer and gratitudes for the day, deepening our relationships with one another, and honoring those loved ones who are ill or have died while on this walk. We bond with pure intentions for goodness, appreciation of our diversity and compassion for the challenges each experiences. It is a beautiful and blessed experience to listen and to speak authentically with open hearts. We cannot change the past events in our lives. However, we do have the potential to re-educate our-selves about our past-to bring new perspectives to old wounds, to recognize the truth in both sides of the story, to stand in the tension of both, and in the midst of those feelings to find wholeness and holiness.I have so much gratitude for this opportunity to walk and pray alongside these people I call family, bound by the weaving of story, prayer, and love.

Mitakuye oyasin all my relations

Care Blossoms

The windy month of March brings with it the beautiful signs of Spring. They are all around our ERUUF campus and our neighborhoods. Trees bursting forth with color and bulbs breaking through the earth's surface, all beckoning us to step outdoors, to work in our yards, to feel the earth in our hands, and to smell the fresh air with its hints of flora...
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In Community

Throughout these past weeks I have been reflecting upon the beautiful tapestry of our diverse ERUUF community. There are so many ways to find one's place here and develop relationships within this spiritual home. With any large community there are always individuals who are living in the midst of some life challenge which can be supported by the Pa...
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