A trip to the dollar store, by Tina Simson

My husband went to the dollar store last week. He’s a high school science teacher and this time of year he is getting school supplies just like the kids. He came home with bags full of ‘stuff’ and he was tickled at the plethora of goodies at such a low price. The availability of all these treasures got his creative juices flowing and even though I’m not sure he knows what he’s going to do with a pound of balloons, aluminum foil, bungee cords and sponges, I’m confident his students will be delighted with his results. They don’t call him, Mr. Blow Stuff Up, for nothing.

Joe’s trip to the store made me think about all the accoutrements of a spiritual journey and whether there was a dollar store for spiritual items. I remembered the vending carts at the Vatican with plastic rosary beads and Pope fans to keep you cool and holy inside the basilica. But we UU’s don’t go in for all that. All we need are a few candles and a fountain, and a fancy journal and some really cool pens. Then there are CD’s with music and chanting and books. We UU’s do love our books. And the message is: if we have all these things, our spirit will soar, right? No, not so much.

Throughout my experience of Wellspring and over my years as a spiritual seeker, I find my “spiritual dollar store” in many odd places, in the woods, on the ocean, in a noisy busy subway station, in a dark moonless night, in the doctor’s waiting room, and in the supermarket or classroom, at my family table. I’ve learned that the place we must prepare for this journey is not an external altar but is in our heart, and the supplies are offered each day in our interactions and our observances. The key is to open our eyes, which then opens our soul. I believe we need to look out at our world and at each other in order to see in.

So light a candle then go shopping in your own life for the supplies you need and I wish you, bon voyage.

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