Thursday, July 16, 2009

Unity- Unitarian

I've been a member of Unity and it has been a consistent Third Place for my family for 13 years. Our lives were reeling after Elena was born. Eric was still in residency, I was back at work and finding it hard to claim the mental space to think beyond the next moment. Unity became my sanctuary. Then and now Unity reminds me to believe in a bigger picture. The music restores me, the service inspires me and the community provides the structure to motivate me beyond my isolationist tendencies.

After my father's premature death, my nephew's forced admission to rehab due to meth abuse, my knee surgery, or just a run of the mill tough week, my instinct would be to recoil from anything social. Despite this, more often than not, I have often found myself seated on a pew at Unity crying, smiling, praying among others. There are so many repeated strains on our existence, it helps to connect with others along this journey, in the same place week after week.

Summer services are run by church members. These are some of the best sermons and on more than one occasion I have felt as if the service was designed and delivered specifically for me. Our attendance is rather erratic in the summer months, but we did make it this past week. The message was a call to be more than American consumers, but to be citizens and to see our lives, our money, our short time on earth as a precious resource.

This was uncanny because three days later I was sworn in as a US citizen. Similar to my experience at church, I stood in the Great Hall at Bethal University Seminary (as a US District Court) surrounded by 701 other people from 95 different countries and I felt the power of our new connection and status, as stated on the US coinage, E Pluribus Unum, from many one. Every one of us was there with our own story, the man I met in line from Gambia with his two year old twins, the man who sat next to me from Nicaragua who invited his accountant to witness the ceremony, the woman behind me dressed in her traditional dress from Togo, each of us with our private thoughts but all of us united through the power of ritual.

There were many factors contributing to my decision to finally become a citizen, including the Obama effect, but the tipping point has been building for some time as I have grown into being a Unitarian. We have a special Coming of Age ceremony for ninth graders at Unity which Elena will take part in this year. As I have crossed this new threshold into US citizenship, I too feel as if I have come of age.

1 comment:

  1. Carreen,
    Congratulations on becomeing a US Citizen. I enjoyed again reading one of your blogs. They are always so well written and make me think. What more can you ask for?