“This is your time and it feels normal to you, but there really is no normal. There’s only change and resistance to it and then more change.” - Meryl Streep
“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” - Nikki Giovanni, American Writer
Life is a constant series of adjustments. Even when we think we have a certain measure of control, circumstances soon show us otherwise. Life does not ask for our approval before it happens. It just happens. Where I often get in trouble is when I am slow to react and fail to adjust to the new situation quickly enough. I’m so busy complaining about what didn’t happen that I miss what just did happen!
Life rarely fits within our comfort zone. In fact, most of what happens in this life is well outside the zone. So what do we do with that? What do we do with personal health issues, economic hardships, unexpected car repairs, political turmoil and global challenges? Although we would prefer our life to go smoothly, it is oftentimes the unanticipated speed bumps that shake us up and force us to look at things differently. According to the cartoon, this is also where the magic happens. We can always play it safe by living our life in the comfort zone, but the real excitement and wonder lie in the larger unknown where change and constant shift are the norm.
Our theme for the new church year is “Transitions; Where Do I Go From Here?” This is a question each of us can ask as we find ourselves in some sort of life transition dealing with change, impermanence and unexpected shift. Transition also applies to organizations (like ours), our community, our country and the future of the planet. Plenty of topics to explore as we continue this journey together.
Moving on, Dave
Back in the late 1990's, our son Gwydion, attended 4H camp one summer. We almost didn't make it. Just before we left the house to take him to camp, a rip-roaring wind and rain storm came up. We dashed for the car, and took off for camp. The further we went, the wilder the storm seemed to get. Trees were blowing back and forth and small branches were breaking off in front of us over the road.
Before we were half way there we ran into a road block; a tree had fallen across the road, and everyone had to turn around to find a different route to their destination. This was only the first of several such roadblocks we found enroute to the camp. We whipped out the trusty Delorme Atlas and found a very circuitous route on back roads to get around the blocked roads.
Gwydion was afraid that he wouldn't get to camp, or would get there too late to be allowed to attend. He was no older than 8 after all and had never seen a storm this violent. To tell the truth, neither had I. Leigh and I kept telling him that the camp would let him in, no matter how late it was when we arrived, and that we would make sure he got there, one way or another.
Eventually we made it to camp, Gwydion had a great week there and we got home safely. It was not until the next day that we learned that we had driven through a storm, right next to where a tornado had touched down.
Thinking back about that trip it got me thinking about how most of us have little trouble finding another route to follow when the road we are driving upon gets blocked. Even if we make wrong turns, have setbacks, etc, we can turn around and find a different way to get where we are going. So why does it seem to be so difficult to do the same thing with the rest of life?
Life doesn't come with a script. We stumble through, day to day, doing the best we can, making what appears to be the best choices based upon our existing knowledge, our existing finances and our existing energy. Some of our choices turn out well, but some do not. Sometimes circumstances beyond our control have made a mess of things. Sometimes we messed up ourselves by jumping to a conclusion, acting on erroneous assumptions, misinterpreting someone's comment, or over reacting to something due to stress we were feeling at the time.
In some cases, we can take actions to repair the damage that has been done; we can rebuild stronger after an earthquake, provide comfort and/or counseling to those who have suffered a great loss. We can apologize and seek to make amends for mistakes we have made ourselves, then make every effort possible to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again later.
In other cases, there is nothing we can do to help the situation. The situation is, what it is. Oh, we can scream, yell and cry; but that won't do anything other than to help relieve the stress and grief we have ourselves. It is past, and there is no way to go back and change the past. All we can do is to change how we react to the situation; we must pick up the pieces and try again, we must do the best we can from where we are to find an alternate route into the future.
This is, to my mind, the great challenge of life, and I might even suggest, our mission in life. Each of our lives contain a unique set of challenges; some large, some small. Some of these challenges can make us think that we will never get where we are going, or by the time we get there, we will be so late that we won't be allowed to achieve our goal. How we face these challenges, how we react to adversity, and how we help those in need shape who we are.
UNITARIAN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS - The CKS Band
Make plans now to attend our concert with The CKS Band on Sunday, September 15th at 7pm in the church sanctuary. The CKS Band is a powerhouse Blues/Soul & Rock organ trio featuring members of The Gregg Allman Band and The Levon Helm Band. The band was formed in Sept. of 2011 and has since played numerous venues and festivals to spectacular reviews. Visit their website at www.cksband.com for information, music and videos. Tickets are available at York’s Bookstore and Visions in Houlton and The Whole Potato Cafe & Commons in Presque Isle. All tickets are $16.
The group features:
INGATHERING SERVICE AND WATER CEREMONY
Our first service of the new church year is on September 8th. Please bring a small bottle of water you have collected from special places nearby or far away during your summer adventures. We individually pour waters into our collective basin and reflect upon our life as a spiritual community. Water seeks the form of the container into which it is placed and no matter how many different waters are added it all becomes one thing. The four elements will be represented on the altar as we explore our relatedness to each other and the world around us.
Please click here for the currently scheduled events.
E-MAIL/INTERNET DISCUSSION LIST: UU HOULTON COMMUNITY
An email discussion mailing list is a tool for a group of people to exchange messages via email. Any subscriber to the list can send messages that are received by all the subscribers, creating an email-based group conversation. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Houlton. We currently have 26 members. Please take a look at the webpage. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uuhoultoncommunity/ If you'd find it useful and wish to join just click the "Join This Group" button. After entering your info, remember to click on "save changes" before leaving the page. You can contact Rev. Dave or Karen if you have questions or need further instructions.
OTHER UU ONLINE RESOURCES