Thursday, September 13, 2012

One of Those Awesome YES Days

I certainly didn't expect 
to feel euphoric at the end of today. 
But I do. 
(And no, it's not just the iced tea talking.)

First of all - check out those bright, shining faces above. 
For A Long Time, 
a donated electric organ has lived
in the entrance to one of the church's bathrooms. 

Today was the day for finding it a loving home. 
These young men came for it, 
and their faces lit up when we 
plugged in the organ
and it worked! 

So off they go to make music, 
and we can better utilize the space in one 
of our downstairs bathrooms. 

On Tuesday, Real Food Daily
hosted us for a special Elders/Seniors dinner. 
RFD is one of my fav restaurants, 
and they offer organic, vegan cuisine. 

Well, it was so nice to get to linger and chat and enjoy food with these delightful folks from the church. 
I saw a couple of them tonight, 
and they were still glowing from our dinner. 
So that just added to my YES feeling. 

And earlier that day 
(note the exact same dress!), 
several of us unveiled the new
UU Group at Occidental College. 
We gathered over 20 names and emails
of students who are interested in being 
part of our campus group. 

Several ran up to the table 
and exclaimed, 
"I grew up UU! I am so excited 
we will have a place to meet on campus!"

Ministry is so much about creating connections, 
helping people live into their own YES to life. 
Holding a container
out of which the sacred can emerge.

We ministers talk about the many demands
of professional, ordained ministry. 
And all the goodness, 
such as I experienced this week, 
balances it all. 

What a complex, beautiful, winding
road we are all on
to find our holy YES in life. 

And it'll be good to have this written 
reminder when a day or week rolls
around where the YES is hard to find. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Paddling Upstream

Last week, while in Mendocino, 
I got to spend a couple of hours on the Big River. 

I love rivers, and love kayaking. 
It's something I don't get to do nearly enough of. 

As I started out, I was delighted with my purple kayak rental. 
I thought, "It's such a UU minister color, how perfect!"

I began paddling upstream - 
and both the tide and the wind were with me. 
I barely had to dip my oar in the water 
and I was sailing away. 
I was the only one on the river. 
The only sounds I heard 
were birds calling to each other 
and my paddle moving through the water. 
I laid back and looked up at the trees, 
the sun peeking through leaves and branches. 

I felt like I flowed with nature. 

After dreamily floating along for about 45 minutes, 
I realized it was going to take some work to get back. 

Reluctantly I turned the kayak around. 
And was suddenly met with a brisk breeze 
in my face and water coming at me, 
rather than going with me. 

My zen-like state vanished. 
All I could think about was getting back to the dock. 
I realized I didn’t have enough drinking water with me. 
(Okay, honestly I hadn't taken ANY with me!)
I wondered if my arms were strong enough 
to propel the kayak to my starting point. 

I did make it back. Without harm. 
I can paddle for an hour, 
and suffer very sore arms the next morning. 
But doing so much work to get back 
destroyed my internal flow. 
My mind raced with questions about my ability
 to do the physical work. Instead of feeling 
at one with the river, each stroke reminded me 
I was moving against it. 

And isn't that the way of life. 
Ease and comfort can turn into unease and pain. 
We may yearn for change in our lives, 
only to become overwhelmed and scared when it does arrive. 

Spiritual practice can help us 
sort through that stuff, 
make sense of our days, 
help us keep paddling upstream 
even when our arms - and hearts - 
may cry out for us to stop. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Spreading My Wings

image from 
I'm spending a few days in private retreat, 
in northern California. 
Today, as I sat on a bluff and 
watched the Big River
flow into Mendocino Bay, 
I watched ravens fly overhead. 

Watching them swoop and soar, 
it reminded me of my mental preparations 
for Adrian to go to college, 
I knew he was entering a season of life 
for him to spread his wings
and really learn to fly on his own. 

What I hadn't considered is 
it also becomes a time for me 
to stretch my wings and experience life in a new way. 

I get to practice engaged motherhood differently. 
From afar and a bit removed, 
but with no less love, compassion, 
curiosity, and support
than before. 

I'm starting to sink into the joys 
of having more time to myself: 
Dinners with friends, 
leisurely conversations after church or meetings,
planning dinners I like -
that don't have to be teen friendly.

More time to write, more time to think, more time to be. 
I'm trying to be intentional about embracing
this new phase of life, 
and be fully present to the emotions, 
challenges and opportunities it brings me, 
and note how it may deepen my ministry.