In his book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg describes the human need for connection, for social outreach, for understanding, for a place where like in the TV show Cheers “everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.”
A third place: away from home, away from work, that gives one grounding, gives one depth, allows each of us to grow, to give back, or simply to find an oasis in the storm for a little while.
Third places help us find friends, share food and drink, make or listen to music, be creative…or simply relax. They can deepen our sense of awareness, help us seek justice…or refuge. Help us work together on problems large and small, or simply celebrate together life’s journeys.
As a parent of 3 teens/young adults, in our busy lives our third places can often be driven by the needs of our children. This has led me to places I imagined; Disney parks, schools, and occasionally the ER. It has also led to places I could have never imagined: ice rinks, dive meets, Scout camps, Lakota sweat lodges, the Galapagos, scuba diving, and glaciers! I have tried to learn mindfulness in these moments, in these places, to learn, appreciate, and enjoy the experience.
Yet the transience of these activities, along with the busyness of modern life, and the virtualization of our experience in the digital age, makes me long for a real third place. A physical, tangible place where I can come when I can, and where I am warmly greeted when I return, even if I am gone for weeks at a time for work and other life obligations. A place that feeds my spirit (and not infrequently my belly), challenges me, and connects me to things that are more important, more sustained, more nurturing, more REAL.
For many of us, UUCC serves as such a place. A place to give and to receive, to challenge and be challenged, to rest and to work, to grow and learn in community, together. We struggle, lose our way, and find ourselves, again or perhaps for the very first time.
If you are looking for a third place, we would welcome you to look here. Perhaps we can be part of your journey, and perhaps each of us will grow and learn from you being part of ours.