The Flowers of Turbulence
I have not enjoyed spring this year in Washington D.C., where I live.
I usually love the mild days of April, May and June in the Mid-Atlantic, where we have long stretches of blue sky days in the 70s. Rather than seeing how much heat or cold I’ll need to accommodate on any given day, I can leave my windows open and my socks off, eat meals outside, and rely on things being consistently peaceful and pleasant.
This year, it’s been either cold and rainy or hot and rainy. May had no days with highs in the 70s, but plenty in the 50s and some in the 90s. It’s been less physically uncomfortable than it’s been just unreliable and largely gloomy. No peace, no thoughtless pleasure this year, just the same old weather variation I manage all year long.
Unitarian Universalism has been like this for me this spring, too. Many days, it’s been gloomy to be a UU. We’ve been angry at each other, rude to each other, and unsure of what will be next for us. We’ve suffered losses and grief in the extreme at the headquarters level. For some of us, we’re awakened to a painful reality that others of us have been living with for far too long. Every day this spring brought something new and challenging in our faith.
At the same time, I experienced pockets of love and support this spring that have surprised and sustained me. Colleagues who reminded me of the importance of my work. The joy of regular churchy things like ordinations and worship. The gratification of the White Supremacy Teach In both in a congregation and among UUA staff. The dawning hope that change might be possible when I honestly had not thought it was.
It has not been a spring to relax with open windows and thoughtless inattention. But the flowers of spring bloomed just the same; the days have stretched longer behind the clouds; the world is still warming, in fits and starts. Summer comes no matter the rockiness of the approach.
Perhaps the task at hand isn’t so much to long for days of pleasure and peace when those are clearly not to be found. Maybe our work is to look for the flowers that are determined to bloom for us in the weather that we have.
Rev. Megan Foley
CER Regional Lead