I've recently written a sermon for delivery at my Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation in Los Alamos. The sermon is an intimate cut at promoting our UU principles in the world. It examines our failures to promote exactly those values within our own congregations and the cost that our failure in this arena has on our ability to place those values center stage in public discourse.
You should understand that I very much enjoy writing and delivering UU sermons. I really like thinking about theological and moral topics, particularly, I enjoy discussing these topics with others, especially my wife, who inevitably presents a unique and valuable perspective on virtually any topic. Being a good public speaker, my sermon delivery is usually effective, the feedback, always positive and I tend to believe that somehow I was able to make a positive difference in someone's life.
This evening, however, I read my wife'smost recent blog post and realized with no small amount of shame, that I am failing to promote my UU principles right here at home, with my wife, who is suffering terribly from medical conditions. Of course, I have many excuses, with which my shame is occasionally placated, but in the end, my being exhausted or depressed...emotionally run down and overwhelmed or even skirting the treacherous ledge of a dark void known as hopelessness is insufficient to excuse my failure to practice UU principles in my own family. I know that my list of excuses are merely interpretations of circumstances, that I have chosen at the expense of other more empowering interpretations.
That being said, I'm not a Unitarian Universalist because I think it is a nifty religion or because it provides me with shelter from some childhood bastion of hell, fire and brimstone. Rather, I am a UU, because it is a religion, which gives voice to my most deeply held beliefs. It is a faith, inside of which I see a possible future for humanity and deliverance from the destructive path upon which we find ourselves right now. It is a path, which gives me hope that I may leave my children with a bright future and a better world than what we have now.
In side of this view point, everything I care about is on the line. More importantly, my integrity, a questionable commodity throughout much of my life, is the most important asset at my disposal in creating what I want to out of life. So despite my emotional experiences or my lack of confidence, despite my history of lacking integrity, I have to be better than I was before, because things are different when you have kids, they're different when you realize that someone you love is suffering terribly. Everything is different when your spouse feels alone in this world and she is facing a fearsome beast, which fills her with anguish and fear. Things are different!
So while I've created a life where I'm alone and suffering, where I offer words of wisdom to others, but lack the humility and wisdom to let others help me, I have to change now. If I'm going to be available to those whom I love when they need me the most, I have to change.
Tara, I love you with my whole heart and I'll find a way to get what I need, so that I can be there for you emotionally during this period of time. I promise that you don't have to stare down this demon of pain by yourself. I'll be there, because you need me, because it is important...mostly, because I love you!