Tag Archive | Unitarian Universalism

Trout

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A trout is at its best

Swimming upstream

The sun shining

On its rainbow scales

Around and over

Huge boulders

And the snags

Of fallen trees.

Strong trout

Brave trout

Let me swim with you

Carry me toward

The lake

Where we all

Will be reborn.

 

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Pencil Thin

 

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Pencils are thin

But people aren’t

Sticks and stones cause damage

And words hurt too

Even when hiding

Behind a smile

 

Every body

Belongs to someone

Remember to feed it

Respect, acceptance

Love.

Amen.

Daily Bread (Week 2)

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There is something very sweet and inspiring about a relatively diverse group of people bonding over their engagement with a common issue.  It happens all kinds of groups (i.e. cancer and grief support groups, non-profit boards, committees, and 12 step programs of all sorts).  I should not have been at all surprised that it is happening in my weight management group, even if the personal sharing has been somewhat limited given last night was only our 3rd meeting.  I was a bit surprised, however, at how quickly the mutual rapport is developing.  Maybe it is partly because we have all committed to journeying together for at least 82 weeks.  That commitment is probably a key factor as well as is having a common mission.  We want/need the group to jell well so we can all be successful.  We are rapidly becoming a “We” and not merely a collection of individuals.

This is a spiritual exercise, coming to a deep realization that we are connected, that we are not alone, in our struggles or in our triumphs.  In Unitarian Universalism, this is our seven principle. “We covenant to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

This connection is what many people are seeking when they join a religious community.  Commitment to a common mission is what makes for a successful group and a successful church.

Success can be defined partly as transformation, both individual and collective, a transformation that goes much deeper that what the scale says or how gorgeous a church building is.  It is what is inside that matters.

(My stats for last week – down 5 pounds, drank 6 1/2 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 365 minutes, mainly swimming.)

Rock on, rock on.

Daily Bread (Week 1 Day 2)

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I got through day 1 just fine: an off and on headache and some mild nausea.  The water was the biggest challenge.  I drank almost the recommended gallon of water, but going to the bathroom constantly was not fun.  I swam for 40 minutes.  I wasn’t all that grumpy with Anne, which has been one of my fears.  I remember how horrible I was when quitting smoking and did not want to repeat that behavior.  OK, I was grumpy this morning when she was stressing about something before I had my 2 cups of black coffee.  Then again, I am always grumpy before my coffee.  She may not agree about my relative grumpiness.

Any change involves feelings of loss and of grief.  It is part of why change is so hard.  Part of what I need to keep telling myself that what is changing is my lifestyle – not the essence of who I am.  (And please tell that to the congregants who can freak out with any minor change to their liturgy. )

Two poems from years past about being a large woman:

Taking Up Space (2004)

I am a large woman

And I need some space.

The world is not big enough

Sometimes.

Sharp elbows jutting, jabbing

The smaller people

Push by with impatience.

Their looks of disgust

Try to cut me down to size.

I don’t feel crowded

By other fat people,

Even in a small space.

Our round bodies bump

Pleasantly together

With a jiggling, Jello-pudding ease.

Comfortable.

Earth mother goddess,

Welcoming, warm, and wise.

Ah.

Funny how someone so big

Can feel so invisible.

Yes, EXTRA large

Is way too small.

Really.

I don’t want to feel small

Simply because I am

What someone else thinks is

Way too big.

I am a large woman

And I need some space.

I want to grow larger still

Spirit filling my body  – and more

Flowing out, around.

Free.

Divine spirit,

Larger than all imagination,

Teach us how to bump more gently

Into one another.

May our spirits flow

Around the sharp edges,

Around the rude elbows

That jab us apart.

We are large souls

And we need some space

To be

Together.

 

A Larger Ministry (2014)

I am a large woman

It is a good thing.

As a minister

My shoulders must be wide

When people need them

To absorb their tears.

My arms must open up

To create a safe space

To hold the fearful

Close to my body

In a strong embrace.

If I could only be

Even larger

My giant heart

Might beat a rhythm

Loud enough

Just loud enough

To teach this hurting world

The joy of the dance.

 

No matter what size we are in body, may our spirits be as large as the infinite universe.

 

 

Dream – In Memory

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

It is an old dream

A landscape I have wandered

Many times

While sleeping

It is a wealthy friend’s house

I won’t say her name

You might know her.

Large rooms furnished

In luxury

And when you run out of rooms

As if you ever could

There is a ranch house

You can reach through a tunnel

With even more places

To rest your weary bones.

Last night the house was also

Attached to a church I used to serve

The furniture wasn’t fancy

But was where I chose to sleep

The hospitality of home

Hallowed by the souls

Who worshiped there

Some still living

And some who have gone on

To other rooms.

Sweet dreams, Roxanne

Sweet dreams.

I am so glad you lived,

A blessing to our world

With your love

So fierce, so strong.

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~~in memory of Roxanne Taylor November 05, 1940 – April 19, 2018    Roxanne was active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, Utah, along with her beloved husband Tom.  With other members of the church, she started the OUTreach Resource Center in the church’s basement to serve Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender youth. 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Shoreline

 

IMG_1926On the shoreline

It can be hard

To know if the tide

Is coming in or going out

You can check a line

In the sand

That marks wet from dry

And wait, watching

The sand crabs, wondering

If they are prepared

For a sudden drenching

That will flood their home.

Wondering if they can cross

That line and yet survive.

But on the deep sea

In storm, in calm

The ships and boats

Travel beyond the tides.

And wondrous creatures

Swim beneath their hulls.

 

 

 

Balance

I was an awkward child

My short polio leg

Threw my balance off

My knees were always skinned

The scabs barely healing

Before I fell again running

Tripping when my legs

Did not land quite right

My bike was hard to learn to ride

And I never could roller skate

It was a balance thing

But I finally rode my bike

Going fast without a helmet

Free as the wind

I pedaled through the fog.

At college I studied

Tae Kwan Do

The Kata’s were difficult

Balance again.

But the sparring was fun

Even spraining fingers

Strong I was

Doing push-ups on my fists

I had an edge

My body was a well-honed tool

Over the years

That tool has dulled

Harder to do the things

I want and need to do

It is time

To work on it again.

And learn to ride

The waves of aging

With all the balance

I can find.

 

 

 

Praying

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This morning when I woke

I lay abed half dreaming

As I often do

My mind still loose and open

Remembering my dreams

I placed my hands together

Palms facing palms

Fingers closed and aligned

A “This I lay me down to sleep”

Body memory from my childhood

And I thought

Of the many different ways we pray

In this world so in need of prayer

Arms crossed or open wide

Hands resting open on one’s knees

Thumbs touching in a circle

One waving hand reaching up toward the sky

On our knees

Or prostrate upon the ground

Standing, sitting, walking, dancing

Swinging incense  or snakes

We chant, we sing, we moan

We speak the ritual words by rote

We speak in tongues

And in every language

Ever known

We stutter, stumble and lisp

We pray in a silence deeper than our fears.

So many ways, all good

All right

God listens

The Great Mother holds us

The Spirit of Life

Moves within us

Will you pray with me?

 

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Holy Saturday

Show some respect

Our hope just died

We have laid yet another

Martyr to rest today

Jesus, Martin, Trayvon,

Sandra, Stephon, and JFK

The list goes on.

Families grieve

Which one will save us?

Which one will rise

Like the sun

On Easter morning?

We must call out our own names

Carry on the flame

Hope can defy the grave

Who will roll away the stones?

 

A Not so Good Friday

Thank God it’s Friday

But all Friday’s aren’t good.

There was nothing good

About that Friday

It wasn’t a plan

But instead a plot

Not Divine at all

A mere human scheme

To silence dissent

Empire is like that

It can’t stand critique

He lived with great courage

But wept at his end

His anguish increased

By the fear that his work

Was in vain

We all have our crosses

Our burdens to bear

We feel forsaken

We cry out for relief

There isn’t a plan

Victory isn’t assured

Resurrection’s only

A hope

But sometimes

Sometimes

Maybe sometimes

Our work will not be

In vain.