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The Minister's Musings -- December 30, 2018

altHappy New Year!

‘Tis the season of making resolutions to improve our imperfect selves -- never mind the sad truth that ambitious New Year’s resolutions rarely succeed, leaving us with a heightened sense of failure. However, Parker Palmer, Quaker author and sage, promises us that we can be whole without being perfect.

In his book, A Hidden Wholeness, Palmer suggests an alternative approach. Consider a New Year’s resolution to reflect on the way we live our lives personally and in relationship with our loved one, friends, the community, and within our church community, and through that reflection, begin to reframe those relentless failed narratives that we repeat to ourselves that wear down our self-esteem.

We can transform those stale disappointments by using our moral imaginations and begin the new year together with renewed hope and a fresh awareness of life and its endless possibilities. Parker Palmer says, “I now know myself to be a person of weakness and strength, liability and giftedness, darkness and light. I now know that to be whole means to reject none of it but to embrace all of it.”

I like the sound of that! After celebrating these annual beginnings for decades making those unrealistic lists of resolutions; finish projects, lose weight, exercise every day, call old friends, clean closets, make time for fun, be perfect, etc. Mostly, my New Year’s resolutions have been framed in a negative light; too fat, unorganized, lousy friend, and so on.

What if those resolutions were framed in a more positive light and I could embrace those imperfect parts of myself while remembering that I also have strengths, giftedness and light? Unitarian Universalist theologian, the Reverend Dr. Forrest Church, learned in his living and in his dying that there are three things that we can do to live a fulfilled life:

Want what you have.
Do what you can.
Be who you are.

Wanting what we have mutes the pangs of desire, which visits from an imaginary future to cast a shadow on the present, which is real. Doing what we can focuses our minds on what is possible, no more, no less, thereby filling each moment with conscious, practical endeavor. And being who we are helps us reject the fool’s gold of self-delusion. It also demands integrity--being straight with ourselves.

— from Love and Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow.

New Year's resolutions don’t have to be framed in the negative! In light of this month's theme, make this year’s resolution about holding on to (or remaining loyal to) yourself instead. Pick one thing that makes you distinctively you and then resolve to protect, celebrate or live into it for at least this month.

See you in church!

Love, Cathy

 
The Minister's Musings -- December 2018

‘Tis the season for curling up with my knitting and a cup of steaming hot tea and enjoying Frank Capra’s 1946 movie It’s a Wonderful Life for the umpteenth time. When I was in seminary, I did just this and was surprised how I viewed it with different eyes. {Click "Read more..." to continue]

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The Minister's Musings -- October 2018

It’s finally October and last night the temperature fell below 70! I slept with my bedroom window cracked open and just before dawn, I was wakened to the sound of crickets. I love crickets! When I lived in Alaska and California, there were no crickets and I missed them terribly. No crickets or fireflies. Can you imagine living without them? But, instead of recognizing that I was hearing real crickets, I fumbled for my iPhone, thinking that someone was calling me. Yes, my ringer is set to the sound of crickets.[Click "Read more..." to continue]

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The Minister's Musings -- September 2018

I’ve been in Gainesville for exactly one month now, and I’d like to say thank you for making me feel welcome! There have been a few adjustments to my new life in Gainesville; the humidity and heat have been challenging, and I miss my 95-year old mother who lived with me for four years while I was in Chattanooga. I’m the youngest of four children and I’ve always said that I’m her favorite, but I think it’s just that we are so compatible. We had a deal: I did the cooking and she did the dishes. She loves my cooking. Mom is now living in a lovely independent living apartment near my older son in Anderson, SC. She seems happy and my son and his wife are spoiling her, but it’s been an adjustment for both of us. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

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Introducing Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington!

I am very happy to introduce our Interim Developmental Minister, Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington. Rev. Harrington will serve as Developmental Minister for UUFG for one year, beginning on August 1, 2018, as we conduct our search for a settled minister who will begin in summer of 2019. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

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