Monday, July 28, 2008

Standing together

On behalf of my congregation, I would like to thank all the people who have offered their support and condolences. I have been particularly touched by those who are not Unitarian Universalist and yet understand some of the nuances of who we are.

We are many hours away from Knoxville, Tennessee. Yet, many of our members know people from the churches there through leadership trainings, and UU camps and conferences. We have family connections to those churches. We have collegial conections. Some of us have attended those congregations. One of our staff and her family moved there. As a friend said to me tonight, "With UUs, it is not six degrees of separation. It is barely two."

Today I have been in contact with my friends from SUUSI. They were not physically injured. They were present in the service. They, of course, are connected to those who were injured and killed. They are in shock. They do feel the love and support of the wider UU community and others and appreciate those connections.

Tomorrow we will hold flower communion with the help of members from our sister congregation. Wednesday we will go to their sanctuary for a candlelight service. It is a great comfort to not be alone in town. We are so fortunate to have two churches in this area. I encourage as many members from both churches as possible to attend.

What I find in these sorts of ceremonies is that there is someone there who really wants to see you; someone who will get great comfort just by seeing that you are there. And if you go, in order so that this person might see you, you may discover that there was someone you really wanted to see and did not yet know it. It's best just to go.

And don't forget the flower.

Personally, my son has started asking questions. This is the fourth time in his young life that mama has had to work after something very bad has happened. What bothers me the most, is that the talk was so much easier today, because we have had it so many times now. I object to living in a world in which I have learned the vocabulary to explain the unthinkable/unacceptable to my six year old son.

As I trudge off to sleepless rest, let me say that I have felt nothing but pride, affection, and interconnection with the Unitarian Universalists of this country, for the congregations gathered in our Central Virginia cluster, and for the peaceful people coming to us on their journey. With company like this, I am incapable of despair.


John G. said...

You can pull a wonderful service together in less than 30 seconds. It was great. I had not realized that one of the people killed had thrown himself in front of others. My admiration for such people is limitless. I am so proud of the UU's from the Knoxville congregation and from all over. I am priveledged to be surrounded by such as these.

Bill F. said...

At some point in my life I realized that the world is a very random place with order imposed with only the most herculean effort. When I was younger that worried me greatly. I'm older now and I understand the value of very large numbers and the power they have to keep random acts at bay. I take great solace in the power of large numbers and give thanks every day for the herculean effort that people like you bring to the order of the world. Thank you for being part of mine.