The Ways We Travel
I don’t like to make myself the center of attention, but I want to share that I’m coming up on a season of very happy personal anniversaries. Forty-five years ago Chris Cayer and I planned a wedding for the end of February, on purpose, because it’s such a gray and drab time of year, especially in New England where we lived at the time. Some people want to be married under the blue skies of May or June, or amid the color wash of fall. We just wanted a big, happy milestone to look forward to each year in the midst of such bleakness. It’s was a joyful choice then and has been most of the time ever since. (1986? Not a good year, but we survived.) And I feel blessed to be married to someone I still like so much after all these years.
A week later, March 3 will be the twenty-fifth anniversary of my ordination as a Unitarian Universalist minister. Whaaaat? I’m still shaking my head. How did the time go by so quickly? And I can’t help but marvel at all the changes in congregational life, Unitarian Universalism, religion in America, and America itself during this time I could not have imagined how my life would be impacted by the decision to answer the call to ministry, and I’m profoundly glad that I did. I look forward to sharing thoughts about this in a service on March 21.
I write this on a bleak day, when the rain is pouring down and the world is awash in mud. It’s pretty clear that this is not just normal, gray February, but is at least in part the effect of climate change. Waking up to this harsh and non-negotiable consequence comes after the pandemic has shattered families and economies, after a full-on assault on our democracy, and after the sickness of racial injustice has been laid bare before us this past year. And yet, amid all the mud and general ugliness, I’m hopeful. Not because of some bright personal anniversaries, but because I’m relieved that what’s been exposed enables more people to acknowledge that things are way off-kilter. And because just as we saw in the first weeks of the pandemic last March, when things are truly dire, we can make choices to do something different than we’ve ever done before, even things we never imagined it would be possible to do.
Hang in there, friends. This excruciating time of so much unknown will pass. Meanwhile, take good care of yourself. Eat good food, stay hydrated. Meditate or pray, exercise, walk, make art, love on your pets and kids and parents and partner. Imagine some wildly good new thing that you’ve always wanted, but never expected might be possible. Imagine what you could do to move in that direction. And then don’t wait another minute, just set out and go. It’ll be wilder and more surprising than you could ever expect or imagine. And full of love, and light, and deep, true joy.