My favorite reason to visit the church. She’s the greeter. What a better way to feel welcome.
So in keeping with my love of miniatures and my intrigue with many religious symbols, I was drawn recently to a couple of Catholic medals. I also wondered if they were old (I’m drawn to vintage also) which made me ponder who might have owned them previously.
Knowing very little about the Catholic faith, I have no clue about these, although I can guess. There is writing on them, but it’s so tiny (and I can’t find my magnifying glass), so I can’t read what it says. I googled them, but couldn’t find anything just like them.
Anyone out there who can help me? I’d love to know as much as you can tell me. They are very precious.
Today I participated in a ‘town meeting’ at the UU Church where I’ve been attending Sunday services. For those of you who do not know about Unitarian Universalist Churches, well, let’s just say many of them are very, very open, liberal, accepting of anyone from any religion, race, ethnic, political background or sexual orientation. They also tend to be socially active, and by this I mean “civilly active”–they give back to the community in a positive way. At least from what I’ve experienced.
So I came in late to the discussion about whether to hang a “Black Lives Matter” banner on the Church grounds so passing cars could visibly see it, but on the property so the city wouldn’t give us grief about it.
The decision must be a consensus of the congregation before it can go up–and as you can guess, there has been heated discussion.
From what I saw today, the main conflicting arguments seem to be between fear (don’t put it up) and standing up for equality and social justice (do put it up). All participants today came to this safe space to voice their deep and real feelings on these very current issues.
Fear, of course is one we can all relate to given the daily bombardment of news media relating story after story of innocent lives being taken by terrorists. Or even just hearing about people disagreeing with someone’s point of view and having them march into a place of worship and gunning down the parishioners. Fear is real and I definitely could identify with one woman’s heart thumping angst about hanging this sign, then picturing the aftermath. What if, what if….??
But what about all the Black lives? I had been personally very ignorant about the movement and said so, only knowing about its early beginnings. What I had heard in the beginning had turned me off because it had seemed too violent and militant for my taste. I have always been more of the same mind as Martin Luther King Jr. honestly–you don’t fight violence with violence….
I was told, though, I should go to the website and read it–that I might change my mind. So I did go, and now feel very differently about the movement. It was never that I doubted that Black lives matter, but I needed to be educated on what they were trying to propose and their credo. It made sense to me upon reading it.
So the real question is: how much is each person willing to risk for a personal belief? I stood outside with another woman who was also in favor (like me) of hanging the sign and we both felt that if the worse happened and we were killed for this, then we died for the right reason. Better than of cancer.
She still couldn’t understand why others didn’t feel the same way. Having always played the diplomat, the ‘bridge’, the peacemaker–I tried to explain that people have a right to their fear and their opinion too–especially as UU’s! Our ages took us through dark times with race inequality and in our own personal lives we had faced prejudice. So this shaped our decisions. But we all have our own story that creates our fears, our choices and our banners to wave.
So, we must continue to talk.
And this was the best part of the whole idea of hanging the banner in the first place: the dialog, the way it made us look deep within ourselves and how it makes us bind as a community. The ideas that surfaced and the commitments that came out of this meeting were so valuable too.
We must remember that even if the congregation votes no, it was not for nothing.
Moving to a new place can be a lonely proposition. While I’m an introverted person, that does not mean I don’t like the occasional chat with a like-minded person, or something to do now and again. Having no job yet can leave a person like me (usually someone who likes to stay very busy) quite bored.
So on one of my walks the other morning, I had an epiphany and realized that it might be a great idea to visit the local Unitarian Universalist Church. I figured there had to be one in this area being a pretty culturally diverse and fairly liberal area.
Sure enough, when I got to the library, I googled UU churches in my area and happily I found one quite close to my house. Searching the website, I even found a sermon from the prior week and discovered that the minister, whose name is Harris, happens to be a woman! Who knew? That’s fine with me too. 🙂 Finding what she had to say worth hearing and hoping the people there were welcoming and warm, I looked forward to a visit today.
In my past, my UU Church was where some of best friends were found. I was much younger and visited with a friend, but it was a place of peace, acceptance and action. It was where I realized my true sense of spirituality and branched off with some special women into our own women’s group which we called Chrysalis. Because of this group, the Goddess sings within me still.
At first the idea of a ‘church’ was odd and uncomfortable to me since my Mother was Jewish and she had always hammered into me that I was too. We celebrated some Jewish holidays growing up when we were still around my Mother’s family, but since my step Dad was a WASP, we also had a Christmas tree and all the trimmings (which I liked better). For me, I never embraced either religion.
It wasn’t until the basement of the UU Church and my special women’s group that I began to know where my spirit flew. It was feminine, earthy, all-encompassing, magic and joyful. I was finally home.
I tried the UU Church in New England where I recently lived, but that one did not resonate with me and didn’t have a space for my special spirituality. It met in a real ‘church’ and we sat in pews, so unlike my old one from long ago. Plus, while some of the folks there were lovely, most just weren’t my people.
Walking into the building today, while it gave me sense of trepidation, it also felt like deja vu once I walked into the sanctuary. It was not as big as the one I used to attend, but was bright, with windows, modern and with comfortable chairs. People immediately came up to me and began to introduce themselves and ask after me. During the service new people were asked to stand and say who we were. There was a peace in the ‘sameness’ of the service, so like others I’ve attended.
It seems like the welcoming community that it’s suppose to be, there are many committees, groups, young people, older people, kids and the sermon was something worth hearing. I was invited for the lunch after, but didn’t stay. My introverted nature reached its burnout point and I needed to head home.
But I will definitely return next week. And I hope, eventually, it will feel more comfortable to me. That I too, will eventually find friends there and be a part of this community.
Somehow lately I feel like I keep wishing for a lot. Maybe you do all too? Big wishes, little wishes. Personal ones, worldwide ones. If only I was a fairy or had a magical genie to grant my wishes–even just a few. Or maybe once in a while a wish here and there. So maybe if I write some of them down and put them out in the blog-o-sphere, some will float into space and be caught and granted by some gracious entity. Here are some:
1. I wish they would hurry up and find a cure for cancer, so my very dear friend, and all the millions that suffer from this withering disease can live out their lives. It’s such a strange one, grasping onto anyone it can regardless of lifestyle, creed, economic status, gender, age, or anything remotely tangible!
2. I wish there would be a stop to the madness of the seemingly random killing of innocent people every time we turn around. In malls, in schools, in parking lots, at marathons, at churches… Can we figure out a way to have a better healthcare system to help people who need guidance through their difficulties? Must we keep propagating these atrocities on the media for young people to copy cat? Nobody should have to live in fear of gathering.
3. I wish I could make my children happy without having to worry I am perpetuating what appears to be the current model of kids nowadays. This generation of taking everything for granted, of worshiping material things, of feeling constantly entitled. If only they understood simplicity and that joy comes from more than iPads and smartphones. If only they understood it’s about love, family and being in the now.
4. I wish I had more time to do the things I like to do, whatever that might be: hang out with a friend, be outside, or just be quiet. It seems my life is constantly about making enough money to pay the bills. And it is passing by so quickly now! It actually is frightening how the days roll around. If I could slow them down and just enjoy each moment more.
5. I wish I had more to give to others: more money, more time, more love, more patience. Most days I don’t feel I do enough (haven’t done enough) good for this world. My hope is that some day I will have that chance.
6. I wish I could find my birth family. This is a wish I have had my whole life.
7. I wish I could figure out how to love someone else or if I should. This is something that continues to baffle me. It’s an unending question that has haunted me my whole life. And I’m not sure I will ever get this one granted.
8. I wish someday to have a job that I absolutely adore going to every day. One where I am giving back to the world/society in a bigger way. One that fits into my life and lifestyle more than now.
9. I wish for the world to figure out peace. Somehow for people killing people all over the world, and starving people, and making people move out of their own countries…it would all stop. That we could figure out living in harmony on this planet.
10. I wish we would stop destroying our planet: the earth, the animals, the sky, the ocean. That we humans before it’s really, honestly too late, start making real laws, real efforts to understand that it’s a world we leave behind for generations to come.
These are just some wishes. Simplistic I know. And maybe unrealistic. But they plague me. Every day when I hear the news and am bombarded with the stories of the world or our own country! If I had my magic wand, I would do my best to try to change things. I do my best now with some of these things I suppose. But it often feels hopeless. So maybe if we all wish together, like a giant prayer group or massive human consciousness–we can create change. We at least have to try.
Today I got some news while I was at work. They say no news is good news, and so, this wasn’t good news. A very dear old friend of mine had been battling breast cancer and had been doing well. She is a very low-key person. It had been her way not to initially tell many people, including me, even though I’ve known her for almost 25 years. When I found out, I was a wreck. She had to console me–it was rather pathetic. But by then she was well into her processing and getting ready to start treatments. Plus she’s just simply strong.
Today when she emailed, she said she had discovered some bleeding. As a medic, I always wince when I hear ‘bleeding’ come over the radio. We only imagine where the bleeding can be coming from…. She figured it was probably nothing, but when she went to the doctors, they found she now has rectal cancer. Upon discovering this, they quickly ran more tests, and discovered her breast cancer is back.
Although she opted for a double mastectomy originally, it’s still back! The good news, if there is any to be had in all this, it hadn’t spread to any ‘major’ organs….yet. And now she’s back in treatment.
I can hardly type this blog article now. Throughout the day, I just cried. While she was pretty upbeat in her email, I know how she must really be feeling. This all went down in the fall. Like I said, she’s pretty private. It made me feel like I wish she had told me sooner! Here I’ve been running around feeling happy about life, and one of my best friends has been so sick . Sick and scared witless. How dare I be OK? Gads.
When we met so many years ago, our kids were babies. We were nursing and went to the same very liberal church. Our spiritual preference then was earth based and I still follow that path. She, on the other hand, has moved in an extremely different direction over the years. My friend found God in a big way over since we have lived apart–and I’m glad for her she has done so. I can tell she finds comfort in her religion now.
Me being me, while I know I must ‘be positive’ as everyone says, I am a realist. I’m also a paramedic and live this stuff all the time. One of the first things I did was to google rectal cancer. It was depressing. She’s no fool either.
It’s funny sometimes where life brings us though… It always kind of boggled my mind how religious she had become and how much she now spoke about God and Jesus. But maybe it was all for a reason. Maybe for her, they really did have a plan. While I can only hope her stay here on earth isn’t painful and is as long as possible, I pray her Heaven is waiting for her too.
But all I know is that I surely hope they hurry up and find a cure, because there are too many people who I end up missing terribly.