When traveling without a map, explorers use a compass. A compass helps us head in the right direction even when we are turned around. Our Values and principles provide that sort of direction. Unitarian Universalists have a handy list of 7 principles we affirm and promote , but each of us has an inner compass we follow without having to consult a list. Why did we stay home, those of us who are sheltering at home? How did we know it was the right thing to do? We heeded the “guidance of reason and the results of science”, whether or not we remembered that was one of our Unitarian Universalist sources. Because we value “Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations” we have made real sacrifices these past 8 weeks; we haven’t visited the loved ones we miss so much, important events we were looking forward to have been canceled. Those who continue to go to work put themselves at risk for the same common good that keeps the rest of us at home. We left the map of life as usual, following the inner compass that points our way forward one step at a time in the direction of caring, and supporting one another.
We are all creating a new map right now inch by inch. As the old structures unravel or fall apart, everything we do is co-creating our shared future. Even while we are grieving real losses, something new is emerging.
Poet Jan Richardson captured something of these times in her poem called “Blessing for a Broken Vessel”
“…I am not asking youWe have already begun to adapt to this strange new way of life. We have been worshiping online together now for what seems like forever but is only 8 weeks, and though we miss being in a room together, cooking for each other, hugging each other, some of our beloved friends from South Carolina or Florida or California have already begun to ask, “could we keep zooming-in when worship goes back to normal?” What a great idea! Now that we’ve had to learn how to do it, why not make worship accessible to folks far away, or folks quarantined at home or in an assisted living home? I’m sure you can think of other new patterns, new creative life-giving adaptations that we could bring with us on our journey not only through this pandemic, but into the new normal that will follow.
to give up your grip
on the shards you clasp
so close to you
but to wonder
what it would be like
for those jagged edges
to meet each other
in some new pattern
that you have never imagined
that you have never dared
As we let our compass--inner wisdom, our values and our caring-- guide us a new pattern emerges. Even as the landscape seems to change under our feet, we are already creating the new patterns that will shape our future. As individuals, as congregations the things we do may ripple out to create patterns of love and care beyond what we can even see or imagine.