Ponderings of our Spiritual Life Director 12-4-19

How’s it going?

It’s a seemingly simple question, one in which we ask each other on Sunday mornings. But, as inconsequential as this question may seem, our answers to it have huge consequences.

(watch this 11 minute TEDx talk on youtube for more about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OBeysx55VE)

I’ve been reflecting on this past Sunday. I came in feeling tired, messy, and unsure about the worship service I was preparing to deliver. Someone asked me how I was. I took a deep breath, sighed and said, rather unconvincingly, “oh I’m not bad, not bad.” I spoke from fears of being incompetent and not being able to deliver an impactful worship service rather from a place of sincere gratitude for my own talents and for this beloved community.

I immediately felt like I just created a space of icky energy by answering the question in that manner. And that’s most definitely not what I’m here to do. My job is to love and uplift you, connect you, and to nurture the transformation of this community into awesomeness. And so, it matters how I answer that question.

And it matters how you answer it, too.

This week, I’ve been researching group dynamics and group motivation. I was deeply inspired after all the positive feedback I got after the Sunday service. The group that gathered Sunday morning for worship enthusiastically embraced the concept of “harambee” as introduced to us in the Tanzanian story “The Pull Together Morning”. Even the children were on board, as was evidenced by their participation in helping to put up the Christmas tree. And when I spoke with folks after the service and asked them, “how’s it going?”, the smiles and positive responses that I got immediately swept my spirit back up into good energy.

Oh, how my heart sings with joy when I grasp the reality of how this UUCL community feels the Spirit of Life move amongst us as we pull together. We pulled together to put up the tree (all the grown-ups singing helped us feel good about getting the job done!), we pulled together to buy 80 new sanctuary chairs (and we did it!), we pull together to provide hospitality, to keep up the buildings and grounds, and (very importantly) to take care of and love our children (and their parents) on Sunday mornings. Wow! And those successes are only a small percentage of what we’ve been doing!

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. –Henry Ford

It’s so rewarding to feel like we’re awesome and that people are enthusiastic about becoming more awesome together. And so, when we answer the question “how’s it going?” let’s be aware of what sort of energy we are giving to each other and how that contributes to the dynamics and motivation of the group (watch that TEDx talk!).

But also know this- if you are truly in despair, truly struggling, full of sorrow and in need of a listening ear, or you yearn to just be held in the space that you are in- this group of awesome, loving individuals is here to do that, too. By no means should we erase our struggles, but rather we should pull together to help each other work through them. We all have them, just in different ways, at different depths, and at different times. Know that by being a part of this group, struggle doesn’t have to be the totality of our experience. When we realize how awesome we each are as individuals (and each one of us is, indeed!), then we can realize the power of our awesomeness together, and we can feed that energy, that Spirit of Life, back and forth and amongst us through joys and sorrows. Harambee! We can all be joyful and successful together. We can improve each other’s lives by working together.

So think about it now and on Sunday when we see each other again- how are you feeling about things in our UUCL community? How’s it going?