Minister’s Reflections: Rev. Rod Debs, April, 2011 “Gratitude, Loneliness, Wholeness”
“Life is a gift for which we are grateful.
We gather in community to celebrate the glories
and the mysteries of this great gift.”
What if religion is deeper than beliefs? What binds us together? What makes us whole?
In recent months, a couple walked into the fellowship asking to be married. After marriage conversations they took the wedding manual I have compiled and went home to write their own ceremony. I helped them polish it up over the months before their wedding. I printed it and taped it into my red binder. With pencil in hand, I practiced what they had written. I discovered that I did not believe what they wrote about being born alone and living most of our lives solitary until a lucky few of us find someone special who will share our passions, our sorrows and our joys with us. Nope.
I do not believe we are born or live alone. But it was their wedding. Like them, many people experience life with a deep sense of isolation and loneliness. Escape from loneliness is truthfully what marriage meant to the couple. So I celebrated their marriage. I delivered their marriage sentiments.
Many think they are alone. I am in awe of the air and light, the hands and eyes that greeted me at birth. Before birth, I was bathed in warm fluids, massaged by my mother’s movements and voice, and nourished by her body. My world gives me clouds and moon and sunshine, rain and soil and green growing plants, cars and houses and clothes, hands and voices and eyes, ideas and words and feelings, dogs and rabbits and birds, and countless new discoveries minute by minute. I have been unattentive, lonely and anxious many times in my life. I have never been alone.
My Unitarian Universalist religion is neither a matter of believing in a supernatural nor in salvation sacrifice nor in heavenly destination. What grasps me in saving grace, are those moments of awe and humility and gratitude for the gifts of life. Despite the realities of hunger and pain and fear, I receive gifts of nature and community, gifts of surprise and generosity, gifts of breath and awareness. I am not alone, nor am I a believer. I am the awed, humble, grateful recipient of gracious gifts.
We are bound together in our different points of global community, sharing a common life together. Thank you for your commitment to fellowship and to greater interconnected wholeness! From winter to spring, may we awaken to the immediacy of life’s gracious gifts.