A couple of Saturdays ago, The TED Radio Hour focused on identity. Four people told their stories of finding or eschewing their identities – cultural, political, sexual, etc.

I’ve taken a few classes and workshops recently on identity – specifically as it relates to intercultural understanding and communication. This included exercises where you list all of the characteristics that create your identity. Mine were typically tall, white, privileged, mother, wife, etc. And even as I recorded all of these traits and more, none of them resonated within me as “my identity.”

Then I heard the TED stories. The people interviewed had such strong senses of identity that it left me feeling a little empty. I thought again of all of the traits I’d considered before – then I tossed them all aside once again. Why couldn’t I find that core thing that was my identity?

Finally in that Rolodex of traits, the identity of Unitarian Universalist came up. And like a bolt it hit me: I’m a UU! That is my identity. Granted, I’ve come to this faith late in life, but I’ve been a UU at heart for so many years. I love our principles (and work hard to live them, even though I fail a lot!), I love how this faith has propelled me to work harder on my spiritual life than I ever had before. It has strengthened my marriage. It has given me some of the dearest friends I’ve ever had and softened my heart toward the people who challenge me. It makes me think and grow all the time.

Realizing this identity – this UU identity – gave me joy. I had a sense of wanting every UU to feel this way. There are so many ways we identify ourselves – if you attend UUCF, I hope that being a UU is one of yours.

Mary Lareau