2021 Albany Post Road, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520                     914-271-4283

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the
Hudson Valley

It's been a while...

  • 01/28/2015 11:12 AM
    Message # 3212170

    This coming February our congregation will be exploring the concept of openness. We'll be talking about being welcoming, about generosity, about love, about justice.

    You may have noticed I've not written in basically a month. I have found myself struggling to find things to say here. Now, I know that there is so much to say on so many different topics-- issues of world concern like what happened in Paris and what happened in Nigeria, issues of national importance like the State of the Union address, issues of local (and broader) importance like the ongoing heroin crisis in our county, issues of personal importance as I watch some of you grieve over deaths or worry over illness, issues of congregational importance like the changing landscape of congregational life and how we adapt and move with the times.

    And yet I haven't written. I've been trying to figure out why. You all know I have opinions about things, but I have felt quiet. It may perhaps be the winter. There's something about the cold, darker days of post-holiday January that feel more insular, more introspective, more silent, really. Or perhaps it is because, as you know, I'm five months pregnant with two little boys and maybe the work of growing people is drawing me close. Or perhaps it is simply because there is so much, so much that the world and its people are carrying that sometimes to say anything feels as if it would require saying everything and we all know that never works. Whatever the reason, I have felt more closed, more quiet, buried, like the land, under a layer of snow. It hasn't been bad. Snow layers are good for the earth, they give it shelter, insulation as the soil and plants work their magic preparing for the spring. There's an importance to quiet, sheltered, snow bound times. There's a healing and a growth that happens there that is unlike any other.

    But there is also a time for coming out from under that snow, out from hibernation. And though the land will do it naturally, for us people sometimes it takes an act of will.

    I've never loved New Year's resolutions. I basically don't make them. But this year I'm making a February resolution, in honor of our monthly theme of openness. I'm determined to be open to what I am moved to say, even if it means saying only part of what there is to express. I'm determined to do the best I can, up and out from under the snow. I'm determined also to leave myself room for those moments of guilt-free insularity that we all need. I'm determined to be open to whatever these next months might bring to all of us. I'm determined to be open with my thoughts in this weekly forum, even if they are not perfect, trenchant, worldly or even wise. Even if they are just plain old everyday thoughts.

    Openness can mean so many things. Each of us may resolve to be open in a way utterly different from the next person. But I invite you to consider what kind of openness you might resolve to cultivate this coming month. If you are moved, share with us, here in writing, what that openness will look like.

  • 01/29/2015 2:22 PM
    Reply # 3213223 on 3212170
    Kenneth Counselman

    Well, maybe it's just writer's block! (Or winter's block!). I suppose that can be an occupational hazard for a minister. At least there's always the internet, although now that everyone is copyrighting everything maybe even sermons are no longer safe to lift, which is interesting because I always assumed that one of the purposes of a sermon was to find a larger audience. Oh dear, capitalism once again running amok.

  • 02/02/2015 10:47 AM
    Reply # 3215790 on 3212170
    Virginia Stillman

    I too feel the need to withdraw into the quiet and introspection offered by winter snowstorms that force us to slow down and discover how nice it is not to feel guilty that we are not accomplishing something more than just existing and being together with loved ones. Recently I had the opportunity to x-country ski in the wilderness of the Adirondacks, out on a trail called 'Solitude' and indeed there was solitude to be found on that trail, and on many others. Not a sound to be heard other than the skis making their way gently through soft powdery snow. It's hard to find such utter quiet and stillness in the world. I appreciate it when Rev Sarah helps us settle into a quiet, still place each Sunday as part of our worship service together.  - Ginny

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