Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent. ~ Parker Palmer
It’s now two thousand and twenty-two, and we have so much work to do…
Albert Schweitzer said…”At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
For the last year and a half we’ve been walking on shifting ground. And before this, not a few us have experienced periods of darkness and uncertainty…a dimming, or even the total absence of the light of hope and faith in our lives. In those bleak and empty times, someone, or something, sparked and rekindled that inner light…and helped you move on. Think on this and be grateful.
Now…I would ask you think on those times when YOU were the one that helped to light a candle of hope, or companionship, or compassion, or equal justice for someone (or something) in their personal darkness.
This is harder to do because we’ve been told since infancy that pride is a sin and not to be full of ourselves. I say NO to that. I believe we need to identify and take pride in what we are good at, otherwise, how else can we use that gift or strength to benefit others?
Our theme for this month of January is “Living with Intention.”
At the start of a new year some of us might struggle with looking at all the things we haven’t accomplished or tended to, despite our best intentions. As we think about living with intention as a way of connection to meaning and purpose, hear these words of wisdom from author and spiritual teacher of living in the real, hard beauty of life, Anne Lamott:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were too jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical stillness and staring off into space like when you were a kid?
It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction––and is NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their finger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction and aim for that. Shoot the moon.”
Resilience and flexibility have been our mantras. I am so grateful for everyone here at UCV who continue to be nimble and quick to meet every challenge while caring deeply for our community in the safest ways possible. These times of uncertainty, when we must hold any plans loosely and be prepared to shift, we can reframe these challenges as opportunities. These moments, even with the loss and pain they may bring, are creative to their core, calling on our ability to reinvent, reimagine, and make the seemingly impossible very much possible.
My prayer-wish for us all is: “Let there be light.”
Reverend Lara Cowtan
Interim Minister, Vancouver Unitarians