We enter October with the worship theme of healing. This theme finds us at a time when we are feeling the loss of Bob Randall and reflecting on his passing. Rebecca Parker, President of the UU seminary Starr King, for 25 years, names the beauty and challenge of our very human lives. Her poem, In the Midst of a World, acts as a litany stating, “there must be those…” over and over again. She points us toward the range of human experiences, emotions, actions, witness, and care that are present in a faith community.
In the community circles following Bob’s death and in individual conversations with congregants the very real struggle with “shoulds,” “coulds,” “if onlys,” and “what ifs,” have been spoken. The verbalization of these thoughts is healthy and I know that for each time these words have been spoken they have been echoing in many people’s minds and hearts a hundred times more. I believe that no one could have saved Bob. In a recent walk with a dear friend who has a sister who is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, she said, “If it was brain cancer, we all would know there is nothing we can do to stop it.” Yet, there is something about the human heart and hopefulness of companionship that wants us to believe otherwise.
It is important to note that there are those who knew Bob well and others who were simply blessed by his gift of music and song. We will need to continue to provide space for this early and continued healing. When someone dies, it often stirs grief that has accumulated over our life time. In our silence and sharing we can continue to honor Bob and to hold those who are suffering. This is the work of the church, this is the love we are called to and the first step in a long period of healing. May you each find your place as we hold and support the healing of one another. Whether you are a theist and walk humbly with God or are a humanist who finds your holy center in human-relations and love, we can call on a greater strength to heal, transform, and bless our own, and each other’s, one precious life.
Please know that I am always available for appointments if you need support.
In love, Rev. Laura
IN THE MIDST OF A WORLD, By Rebecca Parker
In the midst of a world marked by tragedy and beauty there must be those who bear witness against unnecessary destruction and who, with faith, rise and lead in freedom, with grace and power.
There must be those who speak honestly and do not avoid seeing what must be seen of sorrow and outrage, or tenderness, and wonder.
There must be those whose grief troubles the water while their voices sing and speak refreshed worlds.
There must be those whose exuberance rises with lovely energy that articulates earth’s joys.
There must be those who are restless for respectful and loving companionship among human beings, whose presence invites people to be themselves without fear.
There must be those who gather with the congregation of remembrance and compassion draw water from old wells, and walk the simple path of love for neighbor.
And, There must be communities of people who seek to do justice love kindness and walk humbly with God, who call on the strength of soul-force to heal, transform, and bless life.
There must be religious witness.