“What Props Up Your Perseverance? Forget the image of Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill all by his lonesome. It is a myth after all. In real life we rarely push or carry our boulders on our own. Our perseverance is always propped up by something or someone.” (SoulMatters)
I just heard our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, Rev. Susan Fredrick-Gray speak at a national UU Institute for ministers. I, and my colleagues, were most impressed and assured by her leadership, clarity of priorities, and willingness to put dialogue ahead of sound bites. Susan brings a highly ethical, compassionate, and courageous leadership style into our complex Association. If you come to General Assembly this summer you will have the opportunity to hear her and other leaders in our faith articulate our vision and direction.
This month’s theme is perseverance—staying steadfast despite challenges. Rev. Fredrick-Gray acknowledged that this has been a challenging year nationally and internationally. Her comments echoed a note she sent out prior to the holiday where she asks, “Are you holding heartbreak, anger, even fear? This has been an especially difficult year for so many.” Then she leans into her hope:
One of the things that gives me hope and strength when fear and despair move into my heart is all of you and this faith that we share. The practice of religious community calls me back to my humanity, to a practice of compassion, and to the power and importance of the values of love and justice, equity and interdependence.
It is in religious community that I find a place to bring my heartbreak, and to bring my fear– and in that collective sharing my strength and my spirit are renewed. I find hope in the witness that Unitarian Universalists and so many other leaders are providing, showing up for human worth and dignity, showing up in resistance to protect the precious resources of the earth, showing up in partnership for the long haul work of justice. And I find courage in the knowledge that we are in this together.
MSUS has persevered for over 50 years. We’ve had half a decade of being a strong congregation which asks challenging questions, provides loving support, practices radical acceptance, and values a compelling faith community. Being in contemporary American and at this gathering of colleagues I wonder how we will engage more deeply beyond our walls in the vital work that is needed in the community? There are no immediate answers and I invite us all into the messiness of this exploration and the next steps in service to a love, justice, equity and interdependence.