Message from the Minister

— by William Levwood, UUCT Minister

Through it all

A few weeks ago, my friend and ministerial colleague, Emily Hartlief, shared a poem about the first day of kindergarten. Here are some excerpts from that poem. “I forgot to pack an extra pair of underwear on the first day of preschool,” she wrote. “Left on the kitchen table, where so carefully the night before I had scrawled HENRY on the elastic band. “When the teacher noticed, after checking for the essentials: lunch, sweater, socks, I felt embarrassed,” she continues “like a master chef who burns a piece of toast.

“I’ll go home and get them, I assure the teacher. That would be good, she says, distracted, leaning down to pick up spilled crayons. On the walk home, I cry hot wet tears. I had hoped, unreasonably, that on the first day I would get it all right. I turn the key in the front door,

and put the kettle on. I scoop up the abandoned underwear and think no one ever tells you when your kids go back to school, so do you.”

It’s easy to relate to this poem. Whether you are the parent of a kindergartener, as I am, or not, the poem captures something essential about the human experience. The stress. The aspiration. The desire to be good. Our hidden shame. It’s all there in the poem.

How we learn to love ourselves and how we remain resilient while responding to all of life’s challenges, both the everyday stresses and missteps and the larger storms of trauma and tragedy that send floods that can literally or figuratively drown us, these are the stuff of the spiritual journey.

Through it all, our task is to learn to love ourselves.

Through it all, our task is to go home, cry hot wet tears, put the kettle on, grab the missing item, whether it’s a spare pair of underwear or whatever it is, and return to school.

That’s what this life is, isn’t it. A school. An opportunity to learn and grow.

As we learn and grow, may we care for each other and be cared for.

May we remember we have the resilience to make it through.

May we reach out to others for support when we need it,

which is most of the time.

May we adapt to changing circumstances,

not with grace, but with gentleness, humility, and integrity.

Sermons given by our Minister, William Levwood, can be found on the Worship Recordings Page.

This message was published in the September 23 – October 6, 2018 issue of The Meridian.