Sunday, October 10, 2010

Housewarming and Church . . . Yes, Church!

“If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting and set out on a truth-seeking journey, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, "Eat, Pray, Love"

In the last week I have found myself flying high and falling low. This is perhaps the nature of courageous novelty in life. Strip away all the comforts of home, physical proximity of loved ones and a community where one knows one's place and step into another world - this causes simultaneous fear and enlightenment. This week I have gotten lost several times, struggled with my schoolwork and had two disappointing dates. Just as I start sinking into "what the hell am I doing here?" mode, a bright spot appears to raise me up. Over the last 2 weeks I have received your generous housewarming gifts and felt your love across the Atlantic. I've included a photo of the abundant gifts bestowed upon me and thank you with my whole heart for making me feel that I'm not forgotten, though I am far off.

Today I got myself up and went to church. Church, you ask? Yes, church. It's been over 5 years since I've even visited a church apart from concerts, etc. Those of you who have met me during that time know that I'm anything but churchy. Those of you who knew me when I was younger knew a very churchy Kimberly. I have struggled for years over how to manifest my spirituality in an incarnation neither as frightening as my fundamentalist upbringing nor bleak as it could be if I chose bitterness over the acceptance of uncertainty. So today, in desperate need of socialization, I visited the local Unitarian Universalist congregation.

The congregation is made of up of about 20-30 regulars plus visiting clergy. My status as a newcomer could not be hidden as I was the youngest person present by at least 20 years, unknown to all and in possession of a foreign accent. I was instantly welcomed by several cute grandpas, one of whom sat down beside me and announced that he is not religious whatsoever. That's when I knew I'd come to the right place. Unitarianism provides a venue for the churched and unchurched alike to come together for spiritual support, inspiration, and tea with biscuits without holding to any absolutes. They made an announcement welcoming me, introduced themselves and talked my ears off. It was just what a lonely foreigner needed this morning. One of the inspirational readings was about respecting each person one meets along the way, whether you have a relationship or just meet once, as another being worthy of peace and compassion. We took a moment to send those people love and reflect on how we could each show greater compassion in all things. And those dates became two people whom I wish peace and joy, two teachers encountered on my path to bring me wisdom rather than pain.

I was given a ride home by a gentleman who works for the university and gave me his contact information in case I should need anything. He has no idea how much I appreciate the offer. So today I thank each teacher I have met since my arrival in Aberdeen. I seek to interact with people out of a place of joy rather than a place of sadness. And now I can finish my homework in peace.

Blessings to you in all you do. I send you my love from across the water.

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