Kristin Collins

UUFR is the place where I nurture so much of what’s good in my life: my meditation practice at the Monday night mindfulness group, my desire to serve my community at LEAP and at our monthly Interfaith Food Shuttle project, my writing practice at the Wednesday night writing group, my social activism on the UUFR Acts! Facebook page. And last but not least, it’s in this sanctuary that I am often filled up with the knowledge that life can be hard and beautiful at once, and that I am not alone on this journey.

Since Nov. 8, everything has felt different to me. (I’m guessing I’m not the only one.) In many ways, the world has come to feel like a far more frightening and unprotected place. Things I took for granted — freedom, democracy — no longer seem so secure.

But my fear is not the only difference, and not the most important one. I am also newly aware of my own power. I am aware that with everything I do, I create (or destroy) the kind of world I want to live in. I have learned that I don’t just resist the forces of darkness when I call my senators, or go out in the streets to march, or give money to a political campaign. I also resist them when I dive into what is beautiful and whole in this life. I am newly determined to embody and invest in the things I want to see in the world: art, humor, literacy, kindness, honesty, compassion, creativity, women’s empowerment, racial equity, humility and peace.

OK, so that all sounds good, but it’s kind of a tall order. How the heck am I going to do all that? That question always leads me back to this place, because if I know anything, it’s that I cannot do this alone. UUFR is the place where I nurture so much of what’s good in my life: my meditation practice at the Monday night mindfulness group, my desire to serve my community at LEAP and at our monthly Interfaith Food Shuttle project, my writing practice at the Wednesday night writing group, my social activism on the UUFR Acts! Facebook page. And last but not least, it’s in this sanctuary that I am often filled up with the knowledge that life can be hard and beautiful at once, and that I am not alone on this journey.

When I think about what it means to live out our mission, I think about two weeks ago, right here, watching Susan with her wings spread, belly dancing with the poise of a goddess. After all the harsh words we have heard about women’s bodies, there she was, unafraid, fully in command of her own body, reminding us of a strength that runs deeper than any one moment in history. On that day, I was reminded that, even in this strange new country we find ourselves in, we are still together. We still have music, the capacity to create art, and the freedom to dance. We can stand in the truth of our own experience. We can make space for both our joy and our grief. We can renew ourselves for the journey ahead. We can make our lives into a bright torch of love for the world.