As a longtime Unitarian/Universalist, I have come to know this faith community as my home. It has provided guidance in matters of my conscience urging me to social action and to fight for justice. It has given me a center to bring my religiously diverse family for acceptance. It has engaged my intellectual concept of God, integrity, service, prayer, mercy and faith.
But until recently I felt Unitarian/Universalism held a place card for my spirituality. Here is a place where you can bring whatever beliefs you have; here you have a place to find your own truth. But how and who will help me find it? I believed for a long time that it was only outside my beloved community that my soul could be nurtured and my heart opened. So for years I followed other traditions searching for the “truth” while participating in services that seldom mentioned my soul. It was a sermon by Rev Jen Crow that helped me understand, sometimes you have to journey a long way to find what you already have at home.
Unitarian/Universalism is rich with spiritual history and guidance from some of the world’s most inspirational individuals. Through my journey home, I heard Thoreau’s call to simplify, glorify, and act. I followed Mary Oliver into the woods. and I learned that wonder is a spiritual practice.
And through my journey home, I learned that gratitude and service are natural end points for my UU soul, gratitude for this glorious messy life of mine that calls me to better serve humanity. So, I picked up the place card and filled the empty space with direction and inspiration that spoke to my liberal beliefs, that came for my religious heritage.
This inspiration urges me to tend the garden of my soul and is better expressed by Rev. Jen Crow
Those of us who are gardeners know that growing something is not always an easy task, that tending the soil can be difficult work, that plants go through periods of dormancy and periods of accelerated growth. As the Transcendentalists discovered, the process of growing a soul is no different. It requires a concerted effort of awareness and attention – periods that often look like dormancy to outside observers, and then it requires action, periods that look to outside observers like accelerated growth. Living deeply asks us to go beyond attention and awareness, taking our development one step further by applying the knowledge that we have gained to our actions in the world. To put our roots down deeply where we are planted, to gather nourishment, to live a spiritual life and to grow our souls, introspection must be wedded to action.