Friday, March 07, 2008

Being a UU and Crisis

Moxie asks,
How does being a Unitarian bring comfort during a time of crisis? ... how does being UU help? What comfort is there in our religious faith? I am asking about the big things, death, why do bad things happen, war, famine, etc. Big trials and personal trials that are hard to accept. This is dark night of the soul kind of stuff and my question is what comfort is there in being Unitarian while you are struggling with these difficult situations...How does this work for you?
First ... Moxie, I'm really sorry for what you're going through. Frankly, I despise the dark night of the soul and hope that I don't have to revisit it anytime soon. I had no idea how incredibly dark it was until I found myself trying to figure out what I would do with LW's body if she died.

So, what comfort was UUism to me during those dark, dark times? Was it a comfort?

Yes. A thousand times yes.

I can't speak for anyone else. Only myself. But Unitarian Universalism was exactly what I needed at that time. If you want to see it, start at January 25, 2006 and continue for 7 months. Or til today. (Next scans, April 8.)

I can't read them, myself. It still hurts too much. But I remembered a few posts and with one eye shut, searched them out:

Being a UU and a Parent of a Cancer Patient


Ours is no caravan of despair

Footprints in the Sand

It would be impossible for me to separate out people from the religion that brought me comfort. They are as inexorably intertwined as two old necklaces in my jewelry box.

I have become friends with other parents facing that same dark night ... parents who have gone farther; they did have to make a decision about their child's body.

Many of them have a more conservative theology to brace themselves with, a constant creed to turn to. They had a religion that claimed to have the answers.

It doesn't matter. UU or Catholic or Jew, we all come to the same place: I can't understand why things like this happen.

Whether we say, "God understands the reason," or "No one understands, for there is no reason," the end result is the same. Understanding why may be beyond our human comprehension.

Unitarian Universalism, as a religion, gave me the comfort that the questions I struggled with were not new. I was merely one in a line of humanity who has wept and shook my fist and questioned. Unitarian Universalism said, "There is wisdom in all religions. Rather than try to tie yourself in knots about why a certain belief doesn't ring true for you, you can sample from many."

And when I did what, spiritually, I had to do -- in my case, it was to strip away all of my beliefs about God, the universe, karma, puppy dogs and unicorns -- when I did all that, I still had Unitarian Universalism. I still had church people who cared about me, both real and "virtual" (my blogger friends, who were often privy to more of my head than those who knew me in real life). I had a religion that still welcomed me. Didn't believe in God? Didn't believe that there was meaning? It was not necessary to leave my religion as others find themselves compelled to do.

I have witnessed others, in their creed-full faiths, ripped apart with grief, rip further with guilt at their inability to toe their religious party line. Like me, they found no easy answers. But whereas my disillusionment was another element in my spiritual development, theirs became a source of shame.

Ultimately, it was in Unitarian Universalism that I found meaning again. My deep listening group met, and we discussed "Big Questions." No one provided answers. They provided stories of their experiences that led to their beliefs. And in listening to others, really listening to them, I found a way to listen to the quiet still voice in me. And I found some answers.


goodwolve said...

At the moment I envy you. Perhaps I, too, will see the gift that is UU. Thank you so much for your capacity to share.

Comrade Kevin said...

I'm glad you posted this. :-)