Thursday, July 2, 2009

Candles of Communion

I have been pondering our move recently.  

There is some excitement about our future community. It is younger and more vibrant. It is a college town. There are several bookstores, a farmer's market and many more organic farms. There is a good library. A good natural foods store. We have friends that live nearby.  There are great bike trails and skiing nearby.

There is also some stress and worry. Will we sell the house? Will we be a family divided until we sell the house? There is so much to do to sell the house.  Do we take the sheep if we have to rent? Do we thin the books out? How much is too much yarn stash?

And there is some sorrow. Although we have had some issues with our neighbors and the town we live in, we have also made some great friends and connected with the community in ways we only now realize when we are planning to leave. That may not be accurate...let's see if I can elaborate.

We moved here when the wee one was just 4 months old. We did not know any one. Our nearest friends were an hour away; which was difficult for a new mother with a homeschooling teenager. Winters are very long here and the snow falls deeply. The first 6 months were really difficult. Hubby was a vocalist-for- hire for a local church ;but gave up the gig, so we could attend the local Unitarian Universalist church.  We live in the reddest part of a purple state. This small congregation was a liberal refuge for us. They were concerned with social justice, local foods, and maintaining their aging historical building.

And it was much needed community.

Our first time attending was on Easter Sunday. The opening prelude was a rendition of the song Easter Bonnet sung by Linda and Jim. They had me at, " with all the frills upon it." Coffee hour was delightful and everyone was so pleased that we shared that day with them.. So...we joined the church. Hubby does the music for one service a month and I am the Religious Ed chair for the 4 kids that comprise our young souls. On occasion I stand in the pulpit and share my perspective.

We are a small congregation and an aging one.   But in the time since we joined, the congregation has found a part time minister, we have an RE program , we have hopes for the longevity of the church.  I speak in the first person plural because I am a part of that community and I realized, as I announced the changes our family is making to the congregation, that  although we are doing what is right for our family ( singular) , the larger family depended on us in ways that I never fully understood. I am part of something bigger. I care deeply for it and I will miss it greatly. 

I have never felt like this before for such an institution. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school.  Fully indoctrinated.  I have attended other UU churches; much larger churches where it was easy to get lost in a crowd and not fully appreciate how one fits into the larger community.

During each service there is a time where members of the congregation can light a candle and share a joy or concern with everyone. It is one of the few rituals of the service. Often, someone will share something they witnessed in nature, a concern they have for the health of a loved one or a milestone that one of their adult children have reached.  I have lit many candles while attending.  But I will light several more over the next couple of months for the gratitude  I have for those kind folks and that sanctuary. I know that there will be others in my life but  this was one of the best.


Wendy said...

Yep. I hear ya. When we first moved here, I was a stay-at-home mom, and we had one car. I didn't get out much. It took me a couple of years (yes, YEARS) to start cultivating friendships, and it's only been in the past, maybe, two that I actually feel like I've found a community.

But it sounds like your move will be a good one, too :). College towns are fun :).

Kathy said...

Weeping. For you. With you. But you will find your spots in the community down the road ... and throughout your life.