Worth It – even when it takes a while

Worth It – even when it takes a while

“I bet you have said that to me many times over the years, but it is only just now registering as important.”

It was a thoughtful exchange between spouses, long married. An acknowledgement, a validation.

And there was an appreciation on both sides of that exchange—appreciation for the willingness to remain open to one another, to learn together and from one another about how the world is experienced and perceived.

It happens in our long-term congregational relationships, too. When we practice taking responsibility for our own learning and growth; when we choose to remain in messy relationship even when we’re disappointed or frustrated; when we listen when others offer observation; when we integrate new insight into our own behavior.

Then we notice that over time that, with this mindset of openness and curiosity, the relationship deepens and grows.

Too often, I have been quick to judge and reject people based on a single interaction, a glimpse of one aspect of their identity—especially when they’re someone I know only from a distance. And I know I don’t have to know or like or respect everyone I encounter. But here in religious community, we’ve made a covenantal promise to be in relationship—to nurture each other, to celebrate our beautiful diversity, to struggle together—even when we tire of repeating ourselves.

And I certainly have had my fair share of experiences—especially at UUCC—that make me grateful for others not giving up on me. Several years ago, for example, I told a UUCC leader that I had experienced a dynamic that helped me understand a frustration that this leader had been expressing to me for years. I was so proud of myself for finally “getting it”. Their response was gentle and measured—they resisted what must have been a strong urge to say, “I told you so, Paige!”—but my enthusiasm was a disappointment to them. Why couldn’t I have just believed them, trusting their perspective, instead of having to experience the difficulty for myself before validating its veracity?

And I know I’m going to keep messing up, wishing I “got it” more quickly … and sometimes wishing others would, too. But after twenty years, I sure am grateful you haven’t given up on me, UUCC. Even when it takes a while for your lessons to sink in.

I wonder what we’ll learn together next.

With love and gratitude,


  1. Sunanda Apte-kakade

    Namaste Paige,
    What a meaningful insight ; so very nicely written! Really resonates with what I am currently studying .
    I miss UUCC but am doing ok in Seattle.I am Planning to attend UUCC service on October 22 during a visit to Maryland . Hopefully will have an opportunity to connect in person .
    Best ,🙏

  2. Scott Beck

    Paige, most people I’ve admired (like you) seem to me to have a curious superpower in common.

    They surprisingly (often to themselves) choose to perform real ACTIONS based on their less than complete understanding of a situation, even when many of us would have WAITED…or more likely…PAUSED (at least) to keep working our way through the crisis. This is a very good technique to use until the urge to change is sufficiently weakened…thus leading us eventually back to our place of safety. OK….so yes, I’m just talking about myself here.

    But I do think those who risk much, learn much (I actually tried this once)….and in so doing….develop a surprising degree of humility, patience, toughness and best of all…PERSPECTIVE. All being done in plain site of the congregation! You’d think more of us would want to jump right in and try it…but perhaps our evolutionary brains just do what they do for as long as they need to do it. I know I’m in constant flux with mine.

    So THANK YOU for risking and sometimes failing, and learning and growing and continuing to teach…in plain sight…to this exceptional congregation.


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