A message from Rev. Denise Cawley, Assistant Minister for Pastoral Care

I love Craftsmen style architecture and I will often veer from my directions a bit to drive by a great house or pretty neighborhood. There are certain areas I adore for the architecture and one is right around 68th and Wells near the Jacobus Woods. I have lived in SE Wisconsin a long time and while I have walked and driven all around that area, yet I never stopped to walk IN those woods. Today, my dog Henry and I were walking there and I took a different path, I walked in a whole new direction. We came across the pond. I laughed at myself for never having visited this beautiful lily pad-covered patch of reflecting beauty. Here I am in that area several times a week, doing errands and I never stopped. It feels almost silly to even tell you that I found wonder and delight in a place nearby in between the grocery and pet store.

Henry and I stood still watching the ducks swim and there was a stately Herron that kept eyeing us to decide if we were safe. It waded in the water looking us in the eye. I was calm and so was Henry. The light reflected on the pond and the leaves glistened. I was refreshed after that brief walk. I felt like I had discovered a secret land. All-day long, I kept looking at the pictures I took of the trees in the ravine and the pond. My heart was filled with flutters of joy reminding myself I can access that kind of peace, just from going in a new direction.

It is likely we have all read the Robert Frost poem: a Road Not Taken https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken

Certainly, the road less traveled CAN make all the difference.

In light of the sermon I gave Sunday, I have been thinking more about binaries. They seem to force one direction or another without looking for many other roads in-between. Going one or the other way is expected and we are under pressure to choose the best of two opposite ways.

Here are some opposites I thought I was forced to choose between:

  • Move away from family or never be successful
  • Go to college or never make enough money to live
  • Finish a class or a book or fail

Maybe you have felt like you had to do one thing or choose doom. I know I have many many times and each time it comes up, I have to question, where the message is coming from? Why am I feeling forced to make one or another choice?

Most often, those are NOT my only two options. Worse, I often choose the thing I feel pressured to do rather than FEEL the FEELINGS welling up in me.

Not only does that lead to impossible to achieve perfectionism, which creates angst and stress at the least, and the pressure to conform, to be the greatest and most superior can become debilitating. That kind of pressure is too much for anyone. In this UUCW community, we can all help one another to not just take a new road, but to also support one another in easing that pressure to be perfect. Indeed perfection is one of the negative aspects of white supremacy culture. It sneaks up on us and invades our well-being. I encourage you to take that new path. Try a beauty walk. Drive a different direction. Try a class in something you never imagined before or always wondered about. And if you are ready to ‘queer’ things up by expecting the unexpected. Look for other options.

Past Board President, Laurie Boddie, shared a piece with me after the sermon that is a great next step in that practice of finding our own path from Rev. angel Kyodo williams @zenchangeangel: “How do we unknow the constraints and limitations that hold us back from an abundant, just and creative collective possibility? Rev says we must make queering our practice. “We are a continuum…” she says, queering as a practice is simply being “in the full creativity of what it means to be a human being, to follow it into its ends and as a result of that, be liberated from any availability to the restriction of that expression”

For more listen to this podcast: https://www.goodlifeproject.com/podcast/rev-angel-kyodo-williams/

I love the line – the full creativity of what it means to be a human being. Go exercise your creativity. You are wiser and more powerful than you know. I see you. I hear you sharing stories with me of resilience. I am cheering you on. Thank you to everyone who attended the post-service talk this Sunday. I will schedule another Queer Theology chat soon. I also will, with the Lay Pastoral Care team, offer a post-service chat NEXT week Sunday following the 10 am Brain Tune UP service on October 24, 2021. Here is the zoom link for that chat IF we are rained out: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81123710262?pwd=UWVQR250UmRRdkw1RFZ6Rk5zSWNOQT09 (it will be in person under the tent if we can meet in person)

If you need more cheering, contact me for a pastoral care appointment or I can arrange a lay pastoral care listener for you. I also have lists of resources for emotional and mental health support.

Sending you warmth and peace,

Reverend Denise