We on UUCC staff have developed the habit of beginning our gatherings with a check-in question pulled from Sara’s deck — yes, like the Tuesday evening Table Topics Circle! — and I love it.
I don’t always feel like I have an adequately amusing or meaningful response, but I do love how these questions spark a kind of connection that we might not otherwise experience with each other. What is the best prank you ever pulled off? What do you select for a road trip snack? What’s your favorite flower? We share random anecdotes, which often leads to unexpected and delightful revelations about each other … or ourselves.
One question this week was, What has been the most spiritually awakening experience of your life?
I loved hearing about others’ mystical, out-of-body experiences; unexpected senses of calm and contentment upon receiving surprising news; personally meaningful inspiration from a piece of popular music. The experiences identified as “spiritual” were quite varied, but I was moved by how clearly each one awakened something in the person.
And also, I was personally stumped by the question. There is no single moment of epiphany or identifiable “awakening” in my life. I haven’t had profound experiences that felt mystical or uniquely noteworthy.
And yet, my life has been filled with small moments that together have promoted gradual, lifelong awakening. An awe-inspiring experience in a natural setting. A conversation about a beloved novel. An invitation into trusted, vulnerable sharing with a classmate. The never-to-be-answered mystery, “What if I hadn’t been home to answer the phone that Saturday in 1998?” A full-body sob. A friend’s story of encountering a ghost. A seemingly random, but poignantly insightful, question from a Getty toddler. Hands held as a loved one takes their last breath.
No one experience is singularly important.
But together, they have made — are making — a life.
May each of us continue to be more and more awake to all that is.