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Braver/Wiser: Courage and Compassion for Life as It Is
Braver/Wiser
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Life is full of hard edges and complicated choices. Braver/Wiser gives you weekly message of courage and compassion for life as it is. Every Wednesday we deliver an original written reflection by a contemporary religious leader, and brief prayer, grounded in Unitarian Universalism. Join the Braver/Wiser community and sign up today!

 

  • Go Play

    Among my circle of friends, there's an ongoing inside joke: to quote song lyrics that give terrible advice. Among them are, “Don’t cry out loud. Hold it inside; learn how to hide your feelings.” Another is, “Smile, though your heart is aching. Smile, even though it’s breaking.”...
    By Marisol Caballero | 2/22/2017
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  • With Whom Do You Believe Your Lot Is Cast?

    Ethical question (although this really happened): You are in a local grocery store. An elderly, poorly-dressed white lady is pushing a cart, moving with obvious difficulty as she adds to her hoard first one item and then another. She finishes, then proceeds slowly – not to the...
    By Maureen Killoran | 2/15/2017
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  • At Times, Look Up

    When you grow up in New York City, as I did, you'll learn one cardinal rule: to never look up. Whatever you do, never look up to see the second story of a house, or the tops of buildings or worse still, the sky! To look up at the sky, whether to actually see the sky or to take...
    By Daniel Gregoire | 2/8/2017
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  • Both the Burning and the Light

    About six months ago, I got a new tattoo. It’s a lit match on my right wrist, added to an arm full of paintbrushes, pens and other art supplies. As a minister, my tattoos are sometimes controversial, and I was a little nervous about what people would think about this addition....
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 2/1/2017
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  • Love Is the Last Thing to Ration

    When I picked up her call, Kira’s voice was thick with tears. Kira, one of my best friends, is the mother of 4-year old twins, working full-time, and grieving a recent divorce—which means she’s also learning how to be a single parent. "I lost it tonight,” she confessed in a rush...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 1/25/2017
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  • Tiny Deaths

    We sat on the back steps watching transfixed as hundreds of rust-red spiders, big as thumbs, dropped on strands of silk out of the pecan tree in the backyard. It was exquisite, a great exodus of faith and instinct, leaping from one life and floating down to the next. But then,...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 1/18/2017
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  • Sticking It Out in the Storm

    It’s 1992, at Emo’s in Austin. The opening act is the straight-ahead punk rock of DOA. The headliners: the Canadian math rockers, NoMeansNo. Hours of intensity, at high volume, in a packed, sweaty crowd. Like being in a small room at Cambridge, with Wittgenstein relentlessly...
    By Jake Morrill | 1/11/2017
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  • What Will You Do With This?

    This was not my plan for January 1st, 2017: disheveled, wearing a pair of pajamas, and with unbrushed teeth at the pediatric urgent care in New Jersey. Picture it: twin toddlers with a terrible cough and first-time moms. I spent the night wavering between panic and fatigue while...
    By Robin Tanner | 1/4/2017
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  • All Our Relations

    Everyone needs comadres and compadres . What are those? Well, Latinx* people have way more relatives than many other families. Most people attribute this to the fact that many Latinx* are Catholic and therefore frown on contraception, but this is only a partial truth. The rest...
    By Marisol Caballero | 12/28/2016
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  • The Craft of Winter Solstice

    Here we are on the cusp of the Winter Solstice, when the light comes back! To celebrate, I went to the discount store in search of inexpensive picture frames. I felt the urge to use what I have in the way of old photographs and glitter glue for some higher and greater purpose....
    By Daniel Gregoire | 12/21/2016
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  • The Celebration in Front of Us

    Have you felt it? The hush that falls over a crowd after a wonderful performance, just before the applause bursts forth? The feeling of transcendence as thousands of voices rise together, filling a stadium with a favorite song? A rhythm that seems to sink bone-deep into people’s...
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 12/14/2016
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  • When Merry Meets Mess

    I know a little about "merry" meeting "mess" at the holidays — and by a little I mean How much time have you got? Four Christmases ago, a painful break-up sent me spinning into a long tango with depression. Two Christmases ago, I came down with the stomach flu. Last year, as...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 12/7/2016
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  • Somebody Like That

    “Did that man just strap a gun to his belt?” My 10-year-old squinted, looking across the parking lot of the grocery co-op. I had seen it, too: a middle-aged white man had stepped out of his pick-up truck, taken out a black holster, and strapped it on, pulling his shirt down over...
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 11/30/2016
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  • The Stubborn Gifts of Breath and Life

    It felt like being on the moon, walking on Mount St. Helens. Just a few years previous, that mountain had blown her top, destroying human and animal life, flattening vegetation and buildings for miles, and sharing its ash with the world. As we stepped from our car, we felt that...
    By Maureen Killoran | 11/23/2016
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  • Hold On

    Holding on does not come easy to me. As a teenager who left home and bounced around, I am talented at escaping. I can evade like the best of them. I can avoid people who speak truth that’s packaged in less-than-pretty paper. I can leave when the words are ones I do not like. I...
    By Robin Tanner | 11/16/2016
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  • What on Earth Is Worth Saving

    On Monday, everything in the rural counties north of Knoxville was on fire. Or seemed like it: a dry yellow fog settled into the valley, carrying a bitter scent. Tennessee state forestry officials reported 20 wildfires. Most of the fires, they said, were from arson. On Election...
    By Jake Morrill | 11/9/2016
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  • Help Us Never to Forget

    All right voters, it’s election season! We’re down to the remaining candidates, and we are the voters of this country. The question before each of us, perhaps already answered on your early ballot, is How shall I choose? If the power still lies in the hands and the will of...
    By Daniel Gregoire | 11/2/2016
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  • Universal Shorthand

    I have begun to pray recently. This may sound odd coming from a minister, but as much as I adore leading prayer in front of a congregation, on the state capitol steps, or at a patient’s bedside, I’ve always held a certain amount of shame that prayer isn't central to my spiritual...
    By Marisol Caballero | 10/26/2016
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  • The Importance of Being Awkward

    Last Saturday, I strolled past a yard sale. Browsing a table piled high with Halloween costumes—feather boas, silly hats, and the like—I spotted a Rastafarian hat with black dreadlocks attached. When you’re white, as I am, you don’t always notice systemic racism. When you do, it...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 10/19/2016
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  • An Unlikely Teacher of Love

    He was, I am told, just a dog. But who was it that, fresh from the litter, climbed onto my chest, licked my face, and rubbed his pink baby nose against my cheek? Who chewed the edges of my only antique desk? Who hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls, snug and safe in my backpack?...
    By Maureen Killoran | 10/12/2016
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