In fourth grade, when my teacher told us to bring in our hobbies, I was a bit at a loss. My favorite activity was reading, escaping into other worlds, different times and places. My mother, bless her, brought my entire bookcase and library from my room as my exhibit for hobby week. But I never talked with anyone about what I read, or why I loved it so much. That would have meant giving away the pleasure of reading alone, of escaping reality as I fell into the worlds of The Borrowers and Little Women and Gone With the Wind. Reading was my solitary pleasure.
UU Wellspring has changed this. I have grown to appreciate reading in community, and re-reading the writers who most feed my soul. I must have read Parker Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness a dozen times by now, dipping into relevant chapters even more often. The joy in this reading comes not from solitary escape but from sharing others’ responses to the book, and from listening deeply for my own response to what’s been written.
Reading our history and theology is one of the five spokes that holds UU Wellspring together — developing our own understanding of what it means to be a UU through reading what other people have written about our history and theology. We read alone, and then we talk together, sharing what we’ve experienced on the written page — or the web site, or the TED talk, or any of the myriad other sources that inform our questioning. For me, the blessing comes in sharing my solitary reading with others, in the safe space that is UU Wellspring. The blessing comes in being together in community to deepen our understanding of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.