Since becoming the Lay Minister for Worship & Arts in August, I have had the privilege of being in many different Zoom rooms, with many different people, as people gather to do the work of the congregation. In those spaces, we strive to remember that this faith-based work is different from the work we might do for our secular jobs or our community organizations. Part of the way we make that distinction is by beginning many meetings with a reading and chalice lighting. Oftentimes, we share something of our lives – what is on our hearts, what hopes and fears we bring to the work, what sustains us in times of struggle.
I have been honored and moved to hear of some of the many ways people in our community connect with this deeper aspect of what we do. I am amazed by the great variety of practices we do to connect with the spirit and to nourish our hearts, minds and souls. I have learned about the value of morning dog walks, writing songs, taking photographs, playing drums, being in nature, singing, reading poetry, learning about ourselves, daydreaming, making art, baking bread, gardening, doing yoga, breathing.
One of the great gifts of being a part of a religious community is being exposed to many different ways of deepening our lives and perhaps even trying out a new way to connect with ourselves, each other and the world. As spring – the season of rebirth – arrives, as hope for re-emergence from our isolation begins to fill our hearts, UUCF is encouraging us all to take a Journey of the Heart.
If you haven’t already, you will soon receive in the mail an invitation to be a part of something special – a congregation-wide exploration of those practices that might help us deepen our relationship with the spirit, with the natural world, with ourselves and with each other. It will work much as the virtual Advent calendar in December did. Each day will give us a new link to click on and a new practice to play with – in our own time, in our own way. Once a link becomes active, it will be available for the rest of the month, but there’s no peeking at the days still ahead! The calendar will be accessible through the website at uucf.org/heart-journeys.
Some of what we will be invited to do may feel familiar. Some may be a stretch or feel risky. Certainly none of it is required. It may involve being in nature, or creating art, or listening to music, or reflecting on beautiful words. We hope you will open yourself up to the opportunity of finding something new that speaks to you, allowing for the possibility of being surprised by where these practices could lead.
All of this journey is designed to be family-friendly – a way for us, across generations, to lean into those things that give our lives meaning. As we engage in these practices, we can know that others from the congregation are doing so as well. Perhaps what feels risky to us is of deepest comfort to someone else, and vice versa. Along the way, we will be given some opportunities to bring what we do and what we have experienced back to the community – sharing this Journey of the Heart not only with those in our household, but with the entire UUCF congregation.
So, please, when the invitation comes and that first link appears on Apr. 1, take a deep breath and dive in. Know that you are in good company, as we all learn new ways of becoming more fully ourselves, more fully the people of hope and faith and courage we hope to be.