My new friend and neighbor came over yesterday and styled my living and dining room. She moved furniture, put everything up on walls, and made me see my possessions in a new and beautiful way. So many times, as she was arranging something and saying, “This is gorgeous, where did you get it?” I would respond, “It was a gift from one of my congregations.”
A beautiful handcrafted broom, given as a loving and whimsical momento during years that I had a “My Other Car Is a Broom” bumper sticker. A beautiful piece of pottery in mauve tones. A rich, large dark wood salad bowl from Africa. An exquisite painting of my former parsonage and parish. A custom-made pillow that bears a quote by the Rev. William Ellery Channing, father of American Unitarianism.
A charming little painting of my current seaside location given by the board of the church I started serving in August. A large volume on Shakespearean set design, gift of a church friend. Books on the Arts + Crafts movement and Art Deco fashion collected from the Victoria and Albert Museum when I was consulting with London congregations. A lovely painting from Haiti given as a gift of appreciation from a now-beloved friend I met through the exigencies of pastoral ministry. Textiles from Nicaragua, where I lived for six weeks during a sabbatical granted by my congregation.
I bow my head for all the times I felt abandoned and alone, frayed and God-forsaken. The evidence is all around me all the time that I am being woven daily into a strong and beautiful fabric. Today is about allowing myself to be as overwhelmed by that as I deserve to be. I hope today gives you an opportunity to have the most sentimental wellings of gratitude in your own heart. And that if you feel abandoned and alone, frayed and God-forsaken, that you will speak your truth somewhere it can be heard and held with the compassion you deserve. That you will be unconditionally accepted and understood by some friendly companion, and that it there is no human being who might fulfill that role for you, that you will feel it in the wind, the sky, the sun, the trees, the sea or the presence of the Holy Spirit, whom I know is making Her rounds today as every day, and wants to wrap you in comfort. Be blessed, everyone.