The word was in all caps at the center of a collage that a Coming of Age youth and her mentor were creating. All youth and mentors were focusing on collages representing Unitarian Universalism, and I was happily circulating among them all watching and listening to the collaborations. The word piqued my curiosity.
“Why FLAWS?” I asked.
“Because we don’t have to be perfect in this church,” came the response. “We get to be who we are.”
I could not have said it better. One of the things I loved about our faith from the first was that I felt accepted in my full humanity. I wasn’t a sinner in need of saving, but a complex human being seeking meaning, trying to live with purpose and compassion. I was appreciated for my gifts and blessings and encouraged to deepen them. I was fully accepted with my failings and foibles and encouraged to learn and grow.
I have loved working with Emily, our Coming of Age crew of facilitators and mentors, and eight of our magnificent youth. Our UU youth always delight me. They often surprise me with their wit, insight and sensitivity. We grow great kids in our faith and in our church. I can’t wait till the Coming of Age service on June 10 when they will read their Credo Statements to the congregation.
These kids are just one more reason I am falling more and more in love with the church and all our people. It’s hard to believe we are coming to the end of our second year together. In some ways it feels like I just started yesterday, in other ways I feel I’ve been here forever. I’ve told anyone and everyone who asks that I am happy as a clam, here in Ventura, serving this congregation. It’s still true.
And by now we are coming to know each other’s gifts, quirks and a few flaws. Folks now know that I don’t always reply to emails right away. And I’m an external processor, meaning that I don’t always know what I think until I hear myself say it, meaning I sometimes blurt out wild and impractical ideas.
I realized that I was even more a goner for y’all recently when I had encounters with a number of folks with their particular quirks and idiosyncrasies, and all I felt was an upwelling of affection. I realized that I love them not in spite of quirks and foibles but because of them.
We don’t have to be perfect in this church. I prove that on a daily basis. We simply get to be who we are.
And what a wonderful group of folks we are.