They sat with me for hours in this spot. Sometimes talking. Much of the time just being still, gazing at Autumn’s tranquil beauty and listening to the sounds of the Lake.
For some this may look like healing.
I know with experienced certainty it is not.
This, this is the perpetual triage of raw grief.
Keep the body still.
Regulate the breath.
Quiet the mind.
Assess the wound.
Allow tears, laughter or lethargy to come.
Keep in check the anger.
When there is energy, do something useful, purposeful.
Ardently cradle the sorrow when it assails.
Thank you to everyone who has brought us meals, and sent us cards, and held me in your arms or with your spirit. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your love. You are a blessing to us, to me. Thank you.
Rev. Kate Braestrup is an ordained UU Minister residing in Maine. She has helped countless people cope with acute trauma and navigate unimaginable grief. Her viral video on The Moth Radio Hour introduced millions to our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. She has received many accolades and awards for her work in the mental health field. She has been given an award by the UUA recognizing her contribution to religious liberalism. Recently she has shared this blog post.
Two questions that are paramount: Who can claim Unitarian Universalism as their own…and who is claimed (or rejected) by Unitarian Universalism? What are the standards for UUs in general in regards to how we are to treat each other?
Every year on 9/11 my services always include this song – played, sung or spoken. “If I Give Your Name” by Pat Humphries and Sandy O of Emma’s Revolution. As well as some version of Judy Chicago’s Merger Poem as prayer, as meditation, as wish and as dream. May the day come when we can all live in gentle compassion and peaceableness.
This Sunday many will gather for the Water Communion. The UU Singers choir in the congregation I serve this week will be singing “Turn the World Around” by Harry Belafonte/Robert Freedman. I adore this song! The reminder, and the call, of our unity.
When Harry Belafonte performed this on The Muppet Show, he talked about what makes the world go ‘round, that we are here for a very brief time, and that if we take the time to understand each other that there is not really any difference in any of us. And that, if we get to know each other, to really care about each other, we can turn the world around.
May your Water Communions be beautiful calls to compassionately love one another.
Most of our UU congregations are beginning their new service year in the next couple of weeks. When you reflect on this song, “We’ll Build a Land,” what is it you hope Unitarian Universalism (and your congregation) will help build in the world? I especially like the new verse in this version:
“We’ll build a land where the forests are fertile
Where the water and wind run clean and clear
And community matters more than positions
Come share this land
Let’s build it right here!”
Note: This song is by Carolyn McDade and is included in the primary Unitarian-Universalist hymnal. However, this version sung by Mo Mack in Concert with John and Cynthia Boeling as a benefit for the First Unitarian church of Portland in 2016 drops two original verses and adds a new one.