Spiritually Speaking: We’ve Only Just Begun
Beginnings are, let us be honest, sometimes hard. Anyone who knows a new routine, town, or job will tell you that the newness can be uncomfortable and unsettling. Some of us may even attempt to resist a new beginning. Consider when you were a student and may have tried to “sleep in” on that first day!
As I prepare for my last few months of ministry with you as your Lead Minister, I am aware that you too are readying for an ending that will soon be a beginning. In January, you will be meeting an interim minister who will help continue the journey that Piedmont UU Church began in 1987. Yes, certainly when December 25th comes, my time with you will come to an end. Sometimes, this transition is painful and sad. Some may even feel as if when a minister leaves, they are losing their community. That “it won’t be the same.” This is certainly true, in that, some things will be different. I have found though, that Piedmont changed me as a minister. What we created together was by no means Robin’s thing. It was the creation of shared ministry and community dynamics.
I believe with a full heart and a grateful heart that you will not cease continuing to commit to be a place nurturing the spirit, cultivating justice and cherishing diversity. Sometimes, our beginnings clarify the core of what has ended and more deeply calls us to commit to the center of our community. And almost always, the spirit of community endures far beyond its particular leaders. In fact, transitions are times of re-centering on core values and vision.
In the words of T.S. Eliot, “we shall not cease from exploration and the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
These words are guiding my heart as I too transition from ending to beginning. The greatest gift that anyone at Piedmont UU Church could give to me as I leave (that already hasn’t been given!) would be deeply committing to the new beginning of ministry in 2017 at Piedmont. Now is a time, in the midst of the uncertainty and the letting go of a minister, to take hands with one another as we do each Sunday, to remember the core of who we are as a community and then to open the circle to a new minister companioning you on the journey ahead.
So we end. So we begin.
With love and courage,
Thoughts about our theme from our theme-based ministry think tank FaithRocket:
If you’re human, you may know something about procrastination. About avoiding the work that’s in front of you. Putting it off until tomorrow. Which, of course, becomes another tomorrow. And then, sometimes, another one. Why do we do this? Why do we clean the house, wander the neighborhood, or do anything else other than sit down and get to it? It may be we’re afraid to convert the ideal we’ve held in our mind into the inevitably imperfect actuality before us. It may be we’re unsure of whether it will end up being as good as we hoped—whether it’s a difficult conversation with a loved one, a writing project, a hard decision, or a new discipline. Or it may be we’re just stuck because the familiar, in some ways, is always more comfortable, than the unknown.
Different people have different ways to get started. Some ask their friends to hold them accountable. Some set a timer. Some break it into chunks, so the overall goal isn’t overwhelming. A website called “stickk.com” offers a different challenge: commit some money, and you’ll break out of stuckness. Behavioral economists at Yale learned that, if someone commits a financial penalty to not doing something, that person will do what it is they’ve avoided. So, if you want to quit smoking, but have been putting it off, you might tell stickk.com that, if you smoke a cigarette in the next week, you’ll owe somebody $200. The chances are higher that you’ll work harder at quitting. To really put a sting in it, what if the money went to an organization or person who you really despise? You might work even harder. The silly thing is that health effects from smoking are far worse than the pain of losing $200. But, somehow, we’re not receptive to far-off consequences.
So, having a hard time getting going? Putting off beginning what you’ve been meaning to begin? Maybe it’s time to get some skin in the game. Who knows? Could be just the thing to help get you get started!