My goal for sabbatical was to take as many classes as possible toward my post-retirement goal of being a chaplain for Hospice. While I’ve been away, I’ve been able to do a deep dive into World Religions, Abrahamic Religions, Spiritual Care, Ministry, Being with Dying and Death, Theology, and Interspirituality. It’s been a joyful fascinating journey!
Perhaps the most fascinating, for me, has been the idea that all religions have enough in common that humanity (including Spiritual but not Religious people) will one day embrace and accept the common ground between all religions and all beings rather than fight with each other for supremacy, or insist that one way is the only right way. It’s about community. It’s about answering our spirit’s deepest calling. This is something I have always believed, and to find that there are people out there, working toward that goal consciously, actively, and determinedly, has been healing. This is Interspirituality. It’s a growing tradition, and it has much in common with Unitarian Universalism.
I have also been working on deepening my spiritual practices, and finally found a methodology for meditating that actually works for me. After years of trying and failing to develop a solid meditation practice, I think I’ve found a way to be successful, even as I continue to practice remembering to meditate every day. It’s not quite habit yet; I am confident that eventually it will be a deep enough habit that I no longer need to remember to meditate each day.
And crocheting! I retaught myself to crochet and made a bunch of cute little animals for Christmas and Birthdays!
Valerie and Paige asked me this week, what was I hoping to bring back to UUCC from all my studies, and I told them, I want to be the UUCC Chaplain. Not your minister — that’s Paige’s work. But your chaplain — the person who can help you and your family find ways to be grounded again, because let’s face it, the last three years of pandemic have been really tough, we’re not yet done with it, and it’s still impacting us in ways that we don’t fully understand. One of the roles of a chaplain is to listen and help you find ways of grounding yourself through challenges. So maybe we will talk about spiritual practices that can help you with grounding and centering yourself. Maybe it means talking with your kids about how we want to be in the world, especially when the world feels a little scary, and what it means to live out there as a UU, or about what are the most important values that we hold as spiritual and religious people right now? Maybe it means talking about the practical ways we might help build a better world, because in many ways it feels like it’s falling apart.
I’m happy to be back with all of you and look forward to greeting you in person and sharing some of my learning with all of you!