Healing the We

I’m glad you are here with me and my trans and nonbinary, queer, disabled, surviving poverty, first generation with access to college self. Welcome, dear ones. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.

We are here. Yes. And: there is so much that fractures our we. In Unitarian Universalism our assumptions about each other so often fracture our sense of we. I wish for us to love on and heal our “we.”

And so, I want to talk to all of my disabled UU siblings, my trans and nonbinary UU siblings, and my UU siblings who are surviving poverty.

My world makes so much more sense when I’m with y’all. The gaslighting and rejection and weirdness of the great wide world—and yes, of many Unitarian Universalist gatherings—can lessen and become background noise to our vibrant, honest, and passionate conversations. When we’re together, I can slow down and relax. I can work with y’all to make sure more folx are included, and that means me too.

I want you to know how I love your ways of being. I love your being.

I love how you use your imagination to discover and create ways to survive,
and I wish with all my heart and soul you didn’t have to.

We are trans and nonbinary and disabled and surviving poverty, and we know we need to navigate a dominant culture that is more toxic to us than anything else. We know we must build community and culture that values our lived experiences and nurtures our survival. We know we are practicing the rejection of ableism and transphobia and elitism and ageism and homophobia and racism and all exclusion. Oh—and I love how we already know that inclusion means all of all of us, and hospitality means honoring folx as their full selves.

We know we need disability justice, queer theology, funding of expenses, access accommodations, inclusive language, scholarships, plain language explanations, gender neutral bathrooms, child care, and all the things that can make it possible for us to be safe and well, loved and held sacred within Unitarian Universalism writ large.

I wish that every event that is planned moving forward is planned with us in mind and considering what we need.

I wish that more and more reflections, sermons and sacred texts include us and our wisdom.

And in all the ways that you engage Unitarian Universalism, I wish that you will find folx who understand that you are worthy and you matter and who choose to include you.

Our collective spiritual growth and resilience are important—not just to us, but to all Unitarian Universalists. So, now I want to talk to all Unitarian Universalists.

I want us, all together, to build our resistance to the many assumptions folx make about who is in the room, who is at the table, and who is in Unitarian Universalist spaces, online and otherwise.

I pray that each of us decides to begin to heal our “we.” I pray that we cast off assumptions and choose to build a Unitarian Universalism that holds each and every person sacred and worthy of hospitality and inclusion.

May we know our potential for love and beauty.
We are love and beauty.

REAL love that stretches to encompass our human fallibility we all have.

RESILIENT love that unfurls to create and support our vulnerability we need to thrive.

ACTUAL beauty that honors all seasons, phases and aspects of life.

FIERCE LOVE AND FIERCE BEAUTY

Fierce enuf to stay in touch with and reflect reality.

We are beautiful, smart and strong.

We are fallible, whole and vulnerable.

We are right here, right now.

We matter.

So may it be for you. So may it be for me. So may it be for all of us.

About the Author

Laura Conkle

Like so many folx, Laura Conkle grew up in a trailer on the side of a river. They are disabled, surviving poverty, and living in the forever home of the Osage and Shawnee people, colonized name Pittsburgh, PA. Laura is a lay leader who serves Unitarian Universalism at the local, regional, and...

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