Linnea Nelson

by Director of Religious Exploration Linnea Nelson.

I was holding the hands of a 6-year-old in Chapel recently as we faced each other and recited a simple loving-kindness prayer: “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be peaceful.” We then continued “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful.” This was so reassuring and renewed my determination about the importance of taking care of each other as we tackle the problems in this world.

If you are familiar with loving-kindness, then you’ll recognize what we did next. We thought of someone we disagreed with or someone with whom we don’t get along. We held hands, closed our eyes and held that person in our minds and hearts as we chanted softly, “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be peaceful.” And finally, “May everyone be happy. May everyone be healthy. May everyone be peaceful.” The energy in the room changed a bit as we held this sacred space for our friends – and our adversaries – in loving-kindness.

This moment touched me, seeing the children holding hands and looking into their friends’ faces. It reminded me how important it is to have friends at UUCF, people who can look into our eyes and say they care about us. Here, it may be easier to find people who value many of the things that we find important and meaningful in life. Being together fortifies us for the work we do out in the world and helps us to be compassionate while doing the work of justice.

I am blessed to spend my time here at UUCF with our beautiful families. I so appreciate being able to see and feel the love that grows week by week in the classes, with the teachers and the families.

My hope for this holiday season is that we all take time to get to know one another a little better. It has been a joy to get to know so many of you. Whether you are at a worship service, a concert, coffee hour or picking up your children in RE, let’s take the time to introduce ourselves to each other, to find common ground and to make a connection. Our gift this holiday season can be loving-kindness – and the gift of new friendships – that will sustain and hold us in the years to come.