Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The Soul Matters theme for February is Resilience. This month’s post is offered by Cathy Bujold.
I can vividly recall an August evening about twenty years ago in which I sat on my kitchen floor weeping as my malfunctioning refrigerator ice dispenser dumped all the ice cubes it held onto the floor around me. Earlier that day, an unknown LOUD alarm sounding in the basement had sent me scurrying to try to find out what it signified and it was still unexplained at that point. Earlier that week, a car had run off the road into the ditch by my house. Fortunately, no one was hurt but now I needed a new mailbox. And earlier that month, my soon-to-be-ex-husband had moved out so I was left with our three daughters – ages 14, 12, and 10 – in a state where I had no other family, and few friends since I was fairly new to Minnesota.
As I picked up the ice cubes from the floor, I can remember a foreboding chill moving up my spine as I wondered “Do I have what it will take to move beyond all this?” “Do I have enough resilience?”
What WAS clear to me at that point was that my daughters – Carolyn, Emily, and Margaret – were a priority. So over the days, weeks, and months that followed I tried to be there for them as we navigated an uncharted path. As I look back on that time, I am moved by how much I received in return from my daughters during that time. They gave me strength (they walked with me through some of the most courageous things I have done in my life), they were unflinchingly honest (“Mom, why do you only play sad songs now on the piano?”), and they buoyed me with their loving acceptance of their less-than-perfect mom. Over time, joy crept back into my life through fun times with them and through the connection we all shared.
So, when I look back at that time twenty years ago, I now view resilience less as a personal attribute and more as a reflection of those who cared for and supported me.
And so it is with UUCM. We have had times that have challenged us as a community. Yet, the bonds of our community have made us resilient.
We have uncertainty in our future. Change is coming! No matter what the future holds, we can trust that sources of resilience are around us and among us.
As February’s Soul Matters curriculum notes, “Forget solo act; think community choir! We survive our pain by having the strength to tell others about it. We find the courage to make our way through the dark only when we sense we are not alone. Internal and individual grit only gets us so far; empathy, assurance and love from others gets us the rest of the way. Resilience has everything to do with the water within which we swim and the web of connections that surround us.”
A recent video of Cory Booker has gone viral in which he describes the impact on him of a teenager who was shot and killed when he was a new mayor.
“It was packed at Perry’s Funeral Home in the basement and to me it felt like the bowels of a slave ship because we were piled on top of each other, chained together in grief, moaning and crying and wailing at what is an everyday reality in America – another boy in a box. And I ran away from his funeral. I didn’t even stay. And I ran back to a new mayor’s office and I sat on that couch and I wept because we were all there for his death, but we weren’t there for his life.”
In the enduring bonds of our UUCM community, let us be the catalyst for resilience for each other and for the world.
— Cathy Bujold
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees