… besides reading Stephen King’s latest, I mean…
(Which I haven’t even started but which sits by my bed patiently waiting for me to stop playing that damn Candy Crush Saga every day and every night… and we’ll all know when I’ve finally read it because I will finally change my facebook profile pic when I’m done.)
I had good intentions to go to “church” today… really I did… but we all know what they say about “good intentions”…
(No, what do they say? I don’t know; I’ll look it up later.)
As I was saying… I had a plan…
I have been flirting with attending the Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma for years now. I was first introduced to UU when I interviewed for a part-time position as “Congregational Administrator” for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Rosa in March 2006. I was quite impressed with their all-inclusive diversity of thought, welcoming folks of all religions (or no religion) to find fellowship and united purpose in an open and caring worship environment. (In case you care, I did well in the interview, but declined the position because it would have required a greater commitment than I could properly give it since I intended to continue working full-time at my gig with Public Safety.)
Anyway, I immediately wanted to explore the community, even if I couldn’t be of service to them, because it allows people to follow the path of their faith without judgment. I checked out the congregation available in Petaluma, but never took any steps toward actually making it to a service, because I just don’t have a schedule that allows me to attend a Sunday mid-morning service. (I know, I’m just not making it a priority over sleep.)
Then earlier this year (courtesy of Tree having watched it before me and thus leaving it in my queue) I watched a movie on Netflix called “Raw Faith.” Here’s the Netflix summary: “This documentary provides a candid look at the life of Marilyn Sewell, a Unitarian minister, as she follows her faith and progressive beliefs.”
About ten minutes into the movie, I was already feeling like, if Marilyn was my minister, I’d be going to service more often… to pray whatever I pray which I don’t even know really what that is, except I kinda do…
“I use the word God… because it’s convenient. I don’t know there’s a god. Nobody knows if there’s a god. I can’t prove that there’s a god. There may not be.” (Marilyn Sewell)
Again, though, I have been stalled from actually attending — sleep v. fellowship and worship… hmmmmm… plus, you know, I don’t actually know anyone else who attends. (Yes, I’m a cowardly wimp; let’s just leave it at the sleep v. fellowship and worship conflict shall we?)
Then, this past Friday and Saturday I randomly re-checked the Petaluma site, and noticed that today’s service was going to be a topic right up my spiritual alley:
Faith & Doubt: Reclaiming Our Own Divinity
The spiritual tradition of Reclaiming, which was founded in 1980 by Starhawk and others, holds that each of us embodies the Divine. It reminds us that our ultimate spiritual authority is within, and that we need no other person to interpret the sacred to us. Practitioners of Reclaiming foster a questioning attitude, and honor intellectual, spiritual, and creative freedom. Join Priestess Copper Persephone as she describes her own journey of reclamation into faith. We will close this special service with a ritual Spiral Dance!
I was all in for the Spiral Dance! (A book which I’ve read and still have in my personal library and intend to re-read soon… you know, right after “Dr. Sleep.”)
So, I took some baby steps. I researched UUP’s facebook page to see if I knew anyone (no); asked to join their facebook group (because ya gotta start somewhere); decided I would stay awake when I got off duty at 0700, attend the 1030 service, be in bed and asleep by noon, sleep until 1900 and get up in plenty of time to have dinner before being back at work at 2100 hrs; and — most importantly — told Prince Charming what I planned to do. (Created the intention and spoke it out-loud.)
What actually happened was: I got off work; briefly hesitated in front of the bathroom sink while I decided whether or not to take a sleeping pill; took the sleeping pill and went to bed; got up at my usual time; watched a TV show; went to dinner with Prince Charming; watched another TV show; and then went to work. So much for good intentions. My rationalizations included:
*I was tired; even if I took a nap, I’d still be tired.
*I’d be sleeping in two-hour increments (except that doesn’t really count because I already sleep in two-hour increments because I’m perimenopausal which is why I thought the plan would work in the first place).
*I wouldn’t be able to sustain a continuity of attendance because for the next six of eight Sundays, I have an early overtime shift which will prevent me from doing anything other than sleeping and going back to work, and how much commitment does that show to attend one service and then not return for two months?
*This particular service was not a “newcomer’s service” (which they do have every third Sunday).
*I don’t know anyone there, and how will they react to a stranger in their midst, particularly one whose political beliefs — separate and apart from my spiritual beliefs, naturally — may be a little more right of center than these folks are accustomed to hobnobbing with? (And, really, would I be comfortable getting up and actually DANCING with a bunch of strangers myself?)
(Okay, I know I’m hitting that “I don’t know anyone” piece hard. Here’s the thing: I once got up the nerve to attend an Overeaters’ Anonymous meeting. Same principal, right? Like-minded people struggling in a supportive and caring environment. Instead, I felt like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Like I was a spy sent in to recon their deepest darkest secrets. Naturally, I never went back.)
To make up for my lack of (commitment? follow through? courage?), I decided instead to spend a little time with my Sacred Rose tarot cards and asked my guides the question: Is there a best-selling book in my future? Now, what I had in mind with that question was actually several layers of…
What is my purpose in life?
Am I actually a writer or just a wanna be?
Will I write the great American horror novel and become the Stephen King of my generation (even though I think we’re around the same age, sorta)?
Will I write a “Happily Ever After” self-help book for other survivors of childhood incest?
The answer I got from my guides via the card I drew was the Knight of Pentacles:
“A knight rests in the forest, his horse affectionately caressing him. Garlands of flowers adorn the horse’s mane. The knight kneels in contemplation of nature’s beauty. The knight and his steed wear symbols of the earth, the pentacle and the square.
“This card signifies a mature, responsible individual, who is worldly and experienced and has made time to reflect on life’s wonders. Dependable, methodical and capable, this person is the “salt of the earth.” A situation requires slow, methodical handling. Truthfulness to oneself and others is involved.”
I mean, really, WOW.
Not to toot my own horn, but I totally see myself as one who is “… mature, responsible… worldly and experienced and has made time to reflect on life’s wonders.” Isn’t this blog some small proof of that? I think so.
If I believe in myself and find the courage to keep writing my truth, I’m pretty sure the answer is,”YES.”
- Open Letter to a Kindred Spirit: Why I am UU (irrevspeckay.wordpress.com)