Perhaps it is the synchronicity of the universe. Again.
The October worship theme of “Healing” follows the first Presidential debate and precedes the November elections. It follows and precedes heart-wrenching violence locally, nationally, and in the world at large. It follows, and precedes, all the causes of hurt and grief in human experience.
My heart has been torn asunder and will be again. How do we heal? How do we continue to nurture what is precious and good in our lives even as we tremble with hurt? There’s a reason we need an October of healing.
A story I love, in one of its variations, is about a town in the throes of an election. People there wonder how to choose the person who will make the best mayor. They agree that they want to choose the person with the best heart.
Then they struggle with the question of what makes one heart better than another.
It seems that they’ve solved their dilemma when an inventor offers a machine that can take a picture of a person’s heart. One by one the candidates enter and from the device a picture emerges. Some hearts look perfect. Others have a healed over scar or two. But one candidate’s heart is a mosaic of scars: places where the heart’s been broken and healed again, over and over.
Asked to explain the heart’s shocking condition—after all, the idea was to find the “best” heart and this one looks terrible—the candidate recalls all the times that heart has been broken. Loss, failure, sorrow. And then healing.
The townspeople realize: loving well, living fully, opens us up to loss. Yet if a person who sorrows can keep on living with an open, loving heart, the heart heals. Yes, the scars remain. But they are the markers of a life lived with love and connection and empathy.
The townspeople chose their mayor. They chose one with a beautiful heart; they chose someone with the capacity to love and keep on loving despite hurt and loss and deep sadness. They chose to keep their own hearts open to Life and all it brings.
Let us keep our own hearts open this month, this lifetime. May we practice acceptance, respect, and compassion as we go through this election season, as we hear the news, as daily our hearts break. May love, which is the central value of this First UU community, continue to center us, guide us, and restore us—no matter what may come.