I committed to the local Unitarian-Universalist fellowship today. Over the last few weeks, I've done a lot of reading about churches that ask pretty intense commitments of their membership, challenging members to play a significant role in guiding the organization. I wasn't sure if this process was sound, as I feel completely inadequate to serve as my own mentor in my spiritual growth. It seems like asking me to travel from Mount Pleasant to Podunk, Missouri without the benefit of a map, relying on nothing but internal guidance. I also spent a lot of time thinking that, even if I did decide that I was capable of this, my local UU wasn't a place that I could commit to. More often than not, the services I participated in did not feed my spiritual hunger, and the people who attended who appeared available to offer me some measure of guidance held dramatically different views from my own. One of the hurdles of UU is that there isn't just one theory about the source of spiritual energy.
Today was a dramatically different experience. Since it was the "interview" day for a possible half-time minister, attendance was very high, and the energy in the room was hopeful and powerful and contained a strength increased by the variety of spiritual tenets held by the fellowship. The candidate's topic was the argument that there is a central tenet of UU, the idea that we are all loved unconditionally by the spiritual source; UU doesn't take a stand on what that source is, focusing more on time spent alive than what happens after we die. Finally understanding this, seeing that I can join with these others and grow in my faith, combined with the energy in the room, was like the first day the sun shines after 20+ cloud-covered days (I live in Michigan, it happens!). After seeing what this fellowship is capable of right now, the profound experience that today's service was, I felt the need, the need, to serve these people, to make today the norm instead of the exception, and to continue working to see just how amazing we can become.
I have a church-family for the first time in my life.