(We are sharing, over three days, the homily given by Karen Smith in the January 10 service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett. In the first part, Karen set us up to ponder how it is we share with our children and grandchildren just what it is that we are living for–how we help them discover who they are.)
I went looking for and found several different ways to convey my stories.
By far, the largest book I found for recording a life history was one from Reverend Taddeo. The Story of a Lifetime has a lot of questions to help put one’s life in context, and a few quotations to begin the process. One quote in particular caught my attention:
If you want to identify me,
Ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair,
But ask me what I am living for, in detail
And ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.
Unitarian Universalism is a large part of what I want to live for. It is the lens through which I view the world. This faith has shaped my actions when I am brave enough to embrace it, and although I am not up for sainthood in this faith or any other, our seven principles would serve well as a framework for the questions of my life.
We all have our favorite principles, one or two that speak to us a little more clearly than the others, as well as those principles with which we struggle. My husband is a great believer in the free and responsible search for truth. One of our past presidents struggled with the use of the democratic process because she preferred to govern by consensus. The respect for the independent web has been embraced by the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and others with earth-centered spirituality. It dawned on me that all these separate stories of how the Principles have shaped our actions are the larger story of how we have tried to live a life of faith, and of my process of learning how to ‘live into my faith’, a phrase I never really understood. These stories would be about this congregation as well, for in this congregation and elsewhere, faith development is what we do as we create our beloved community.
(The final part of this homily will appear tomorrow.)