Simply put, it was a circle that led me to this church. Let me explain. I grew up in this area but left for many years to pursue career and then raise a family in the mid-west, returning after 20 years, coming full circle, discovering the UU faith in the process.
The first time I walked into this sanctuary, I was moved by a feeling of inclusiveness. The pews were not laid out in a linear fashion with kneelers demanding submission. The minister did not tower separate from congregants, but stood as part of our circle. I felt this was a place for connection and collaboration before I ever sat down.
…the interlocking circles on the walls that embrace and hold our space, the dome and yin-yang circle that lies hidden beneath the rug, the wider circle beyond the sanctuary where we gather for coffee and conversation, our chalice… the symbol of our faith, even the stained glass art that hangs above our front door, “Los Niños,” a circle of children at play, inspired by the work of one of my favorite artists, Ted DeGrazia.
The circle, perhaps our most ancient symbol, has been used to represent inclusiveness and wholeness. It’s the sun symbol, the shape of mother earth and the eyes we have to see her beauty, and the mandala, which reminds us of our relationship to the infinite. It’s symbolic of equity where no person is more prominent than any other. The circle has no break and holds that which cannot be broken.
But the circle that brings me more fully into the fold of this faith is the Circle of Trust I join every 2 weeks in Wellspring. The Wellspring program, designed to answer the call for spiritual deepening for UUs, is a lifeline of sorts for me, a place where I find answers NOT out there (point to outside) in scripture or doctrine, NOT in here (point to head) where I get lost in “shoulds,” but in HERE (my heart) where I listen deeply to the soft voice of inner wisdom, in circle with other travelers.
Now, in my third year of facilitating Wellspring, I’m beginning to realize the ripple effect., like throwing a pebble in a pond, watching the endless flow of concentric circles released from the center.
So here it is… from a place of inner wisdom comes a more authentic life, and in the words of Rebecca Ann Parker, an opportunity to “choose to bless the world” and to answer the question Mary Oliver offers, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” As I learn to lean into this question, I do so in a faith that meets me where I am and invites me to be my best self.