September’s theme is “Expectations,” a theme of particular interest to me as a new board member. I’ve been a member of UUCM for over two years now, and have been so happy to find such a caring and welcoming community.
“Expectations” is a big word, with many resonances. What does the congregation expect of me in this new board role? What are the other board members’ expectations? And what about the interim ministerial team? I could quickly get overwhelmed—and not merely by a string of rhetorical questions.
Certainly, there are the basic expectations, like going board meetings and being an active member of church life. Those are obvious, and I’m sure there’s more to it than that. It’s good to expect things from each other, and to hold each other accountable, to hold oneself accountable.
“Expectations” also reminds me of Carly Simon’s song “Anticipation,” an entirely different way of thinking of the word. The connection is confirmed with the root of the word, from the Soul Matters packet:
From Latin ex ‘out’ + spectare ‘to look’ + ation ‘the state of.’ In English the meaning anticipating, regarding as about to happen
We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day
It’s a love song (kind of), but certainly a song wondering if we can ever be content with where we are, rather than always looking for what’s to come. Wouldn’t life be easier if we could just live in the moment, not “cashin’ after some finer day”? This must be why meditation is so popular—the practice of striving to stay in the present moment.
It’s hard not to think of the future, though, and wonder what will come of it. And I know that looking backwards, I’m not living the life I had expected. Not in a bad way; it’s just different.
But then I wonder how we’d live our lives differently if we knew exactly what would happen and when and how. And then the knowing seems kind of boring. The anticipation, the expectation, the unknown—that’s what interesting, what makes life rich.
The Soul Matters curriculum asks us what it means to be a people of expectation, saying that
Sometimes we UUs become so focused on taking hold of life that we lose the spiritual skill of allowing life to hold us. And there’s a lot at stake in being able to do both. We human beings weren’t just made to manifest our power; we were born to learn we are part of a greater whole. Yes, we are strong, but we also tire. And so the question at the core of our souls is not just “Can I expect to make an imprint on life?” but “Can I trust life to carry me if I let go and rest?”
Can we let go, rest, and trust life to take to in the right direction? We’ll help each other in this question, because we’re not alone, we are part of this “greater whole.” We expect much of each other—deservedly so.
— Becky Halat
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees