From the Archives: In Growth & Queerness

From the Archives: In Growth & Queerness

I’m choosing to share this In Between Sundays of mine from January of this year with you all this week. In it I explore some important spiritual concepts that I hold near and dear regarding change, growth, slowing down, being present, nurturing, and individuality.

This week I’m on vacation with Shepherd and Griffin in rural Wisconsin visiting some dear family friends and am looking to center myself enough to be able to reconnect with and reaffirm these spiritual cornerstones of mine.

As we gear up for a new congregational year beginning in September, I hope we have all found (or forced… or created) space to slow down this summer, to listen for lessons, to connect with our authentic selves, and to grow in new, beautiful ways.

All that you touch. You Change. All that you Change Changes you.
The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.
—Octavia Butler

During summer 2020, I started watching The New Pope. I only watched a few episodes, having decided to pivot to sitcoms, which seemed a wiser choice given, you know, the overall mood and madness. But in one of those first few episodes of The New Pope, there was one scene and one particular quote from that scene that stuck with me. “The only evidence of life is growth.” (Said by John Henry Newman). I think back on it; it helps anchor me and even guides me now. I don’t know much about John Henry Newman, but I really love the dense simplicity of the quote and the concept. 

Frequently throughout the year, me and my twins Shepherd and Griffin (and sometimes if we’re lucky, my sister) head over to see my mother and her partner Fred, who live near Chincoteague, VA. It’s a rural area near the ocean and mom and Fred are as lovely as they come, so it’s a place I’m grateful to be able to visit and enjoy regularly. 

The living is slow and easy while we’re there. There is an easy rhythm to the day. We relax as best we can given what’s going on in our lives, and make sure to enjoy each other’s company. We take it slow. We eat together. We play games. We look at the sunsets; usually having full conversations about them. We spend a lot of time outside. We take walks to the creek, or down the main road. In a big group, in small groups, or alone, as suits the situation.

We check out the garden, which is part of Fred’s Field, and was originally created by Fred, and has been co-cultivated with my mother since she moved there 13 years ago. We see what’s coming along. We check on the status of the garden, admiring the beauty and diversity of what’s growing… or soon to be growing. We smell herbs. We appreciate the garden know-how of Fred and my mother. Because it takes a lot of love and attention to tend a garden; to dedicate yourself to growing plants, different plants with different needs, to seeing them from seed to fruit, year after year. Shepherd and Griffin are naturally drawn to it all, always asking the most questions as they radiate curiosity about the world around them. 

While it’s winter and the garden is far from full swing, I’m grateful for the lessons of Fred’s Field, and for my better ability to listen for and digest lessons since I came out as very queer; since I came out as myself. To embrace my queerness is to embrace growth and living and my full self. And if the only evidence of life is growth… I know my choice.

🌱🌈 In growth and queerness, and with love,

P.S. Anybody as much of a fan of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania as I am? Yow. So good.

Some photos from Fred’s Field for you all:


  1. Liz Barrett

    Sara, I just love what you wrote. I feel I know the spirit of your wonderful visits with your mom and Fred — all so full of love, understanding, and growth! Lucky you. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Liz Barrett

    Sara, I just love what you wrote. I feel I know the spirit of your wonderful visits with your mom and Fred — all so full of love, understanding, and growth! Lucky you. Thanks for sharing.

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