It is a brave thing to grapple with our mortality, too. Though we live in a culture that seems to fear or at least wants us hide aging, there are some that respect our elders. Still, every single one of us is going to die, at least our physical bodies will. If we’ve dared to really live, our memories will live on after we’ve shed the mortal cloak; at least, for a while. With billions of people who have lived on the planet, only a few make a difference so large that millions of others remember them. We honor them with holidays and history books, monuments and memorials, for better and for worse.
The rest of us are no less important though. When we’ve lived well and dared to love, we matter to others. Our presence has an impact as does our absence. Yet, so many of us struggle with whether or not we truly matter. We obsess about doing enough, knowing enough, owning enough. When we put our Unitarian Universalist principles into practice, which is what they are for, then every single person has inherent dignity and worth, including YOU!
Living our lives with this truth can shape our days.
We can choose to
blare the horn,
kvetch and moan,
dismiss people simply on their looks or their job or their
We can choose to praise,
wave someone in ahead of us,
laugh at the strangeness,
get curious about others,
ask if someone would like feedback about your experience and then
actually honor their yes or no,
We can’t choose how others remember us though we can choose how we live, which in turn creates memories. What legacy will you leave behind? What memories do you want to make before you can no longer remember yourself? What are you waiting for?
Later this month, we’ll honor our ancestors, those who are biologically related to us as well as those with whom we feel connected or from whom we draw inspiration. We’ll co-create a community altar of photos and mementos to remember, to honor, and to remind us of why living well matters, why community matters.
In the short time we’ve been with you, two beloved elders have died. Joan Osborne and Bill Hillig. They were generous through their love, their expertise, their complicated lives, and also through naming UU Schenectady as part of their parting wishes. Their invitation to others to donate to this congregation is a meaningful gift, and moves us deeply as people so new to the congregation. To reflect on people who have been members of the congregation since the 1950s, (before we were even born) and to witness how much this congregation has meant to them by including UUSS in their final wishes, is a humbling place to bear witness.
What might each of us do in the coming days, weeks, months, and years to strengthen this congregation so that it might still be here decades into the future, encouraging spiritual and personal growth, making a difference in the wider community? And more importantly, who might each of us and all of us, be such that UUSS provides leadership in transforming the world through listening, healing, changing, and remembering?
Posted October 2017