As the world turns and the seasons change…
Watching the leaves fall creating random patterns of shape and shades on the ground, hinting at cooler days to come, I feel fully alive even as I am drawn inward toward reflection. These days boast perfect temps for walks and outdoor activities, but there is a certain energy pushing into the early dark that opens a window into reflective space that is growing less distracted by lingering summer bling.
I know who I am. I know what I do. I know what I love. At the same time, I wonder how my self-awareness fits into a cultural norm that is not in line with what I profess. As I listen, learn, and stumble, I realize the world turns and churns through ages and cultures, enlightenments and disruptions. There are seasons of knowing and unknowing. Sometimes this comes in the lengths of eras and sometimes it comes in lifetimes. It has taken all my years to build my sense of self and to operate comfortably in that zone. At the same time, and all too slowly, I am becoming more and more aware of histories, experiences, and shades of color that exist all around me.
It is time to be a student once again. Not that I’m not always learning, but that I need to be more intentional and dedicated. When a person of color says ‘ouch’ or a trans person squirms at my attempts at ‘woke-ness’, I need to stop, breathe, and listen. Keep my mouth shut and listen. And learn. These people have a lot to teach me. But they have lives too. It is not their job to teach me or find ways to make me feel better. I need to do my own work. What is behind my ‘knowing’? What defines my version of life and how does it rely, use, or worse, abuse others? What can I learn? (A lot!)
This sounds good on paper and in reflection, but is easy to keep it all in my head. What do I do with the learning? And, how do I learn in the first place?
I don’t think I am alone in this. Fortunately, as a congregation, we are committed to learning. The Board last night was asked to support the 8th Principle. Some were totally ready to vote Yes! while others were hearing about the 8th Principle for the first time. Ahh! An opportunity! If you want to know more, click here for a search list of articles at uua.org. You can also listen to an OSU Diversity Lecture featuring Isabel Wilerson by clicking here for more information. And of course, you can participate in our own First UU opportunities. We have a BIPOC group as well as an allies group. We have classes and workshops. Friday News always has the current listing. And if you have ideas, let us know!
So the seasons of learning turn as do the seasons of leaves. This year, I’m dedicated to slowing down, paying attention, and learning. Will you join me?