You Might As Well Love

You Might As Well Love

Sometimes at the end of a worship service, one of you will say to me, “How did you know that was exactly what I needed to hear today?”

That’s how I felt the other day when a friend shared the poem The Facts of Life by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Not only did the poet’s words arrive at exactly the right time, but I felt surprised that I’d never seen it before!

That life isn’t fair.
That life is sometimes good
and sometimes better than good.

That life is often not so good.

As you know, this Saturday, April 1, marks the beginning of a five-month ministerial sabbatical for UUCC and me. For months we’ve been preparing for this time apart—making sure that you have the pastoral care and worship leadership that you need, making sure that Valerie and the staff are well-supported, laying the groundwork for Envision UUCC—the congregational Values, Mission, and Ends project.

This sabbatical is both a gift and a requirement for long-term ministry. Any healthy relationship is strengthened by time apart for introspection and renewal as a self. As I shared in our worship service on March 19, I’m eagerly anticipating this time of rest and reflection and discernment—which at times will be uncomfortable—and the plan is to begin with a family adventure in Joshua Tree National Park next week.

That life is real
and if you can survive it, well,
survive it well
with love
and art
and meaning given
where meaning’s scarce.

And. On Sunday evening our family was surprised by the news that Graham’s (my spouse) mother was experiencing what seemed to be a medical emergency in her new apartment in an assisted care home. By Monday morning, she had died. While her death was sudden and unexpected, we are also confident that Beth is at peace. She was a woman of deep Christian faith who did not fear death—spiritually and psychologically, she had clearly communicated that she was “ready”. So, we will gather for her funeral on Saturday morning, and I will celebrate this woman who birthed the one who is my partner, friend, confidante, spouse, co-parent, sermon editor, in-house comedian, and truest companion.

CUMC’s new pastor, Rev. Angela Wells, and I hosted this week’s gathering of the Howard County Clergy Alliance. We invited our colleagues to share memories of people or experiences that had shaped who they are. What a rich time of sharing! I spoke of some individuals I’ve categorized as “not like me”—individuals like my mother-in-law Beth—and how being open to relationship with them has enriched my life and shaped me in meaningful ways.

So you might as well live
and you might as well love.
You might as well love.
You might as well love.

So, I will travel to Atlanta on Thursday morning—essentially beginning sabbatical two days early—and we will gather to celebrate the life of Elizabeth Morris Borneman Robertson.

After that, we’ll continue on our family’s planned journey to the west.

Then I’ll rest. And learn. And play. And reflect.

I’ll welcome what comes.

And I’ll look forward to returning to you in September.

Thank you, Chalice Rebels and Sabbatical Committee, for the delightful musical send-off on Sunday.

Thank you to all who have offered well-wishes as this sabbatical commences. Each of you is precious to me.

And thank you, everyone, for the ways you’ll minister to and with one another in my absence.

So you might as well live
and you might as well love.

I love you.



  1. Gail Thompson

    Paige, Graham, Hallie and Sara, Losing a parent or grandparent is never easy but it can seem to put life in a new perspective or to paraphrase another line, life is what happens when you have made other plans. It also opens the way to remembering the whole person who has effected and changed our lives and then looking ahead, believing “you might as well love”. Your poem speaks to me too. We love you all.

  2. Alice Pham

    My thoughts are with you and Graham as you go on this journey. Memories of all kinds will envelop you. Here’s hoping the good ones, the loving moments, the incredible gifts she passed to her son and were shared by you overwhelm all the grief.

  3. Kay Baker

    I agree with Gale. After my parents died when I was in my late 30’ and early 40’s I came to realize that now I was “The Old One”. They were gone. I couldn’t just pick up the phone to ask them about details of my family’s events I’d forgotten or had not paid attention to. Now my son and cousins come to me to tell the stories and ask advice. It was a startling awareness. , a new journey. Memories of your mother and mother – in- law will always be with you .

    Paige I wish for you to have a refreshing respite, and renewal during the next 5 months. Also most importantly quality time with your family on this new adventure.
    Love, Kay ( and John, too! )

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