In January, Lou and I celebrated a big anniversary: forty years had passed since we met in church that cold January 8th. We were young and there was so much ahead of us that we couldn’t imagine: disappointment, pain, joy, adventure and meaning and much more. Falling in love changed our lives. Through the years, our love facilitated a life we couldn’t have had without each other. In 1983, when we reunited, which caused brokenness with my birth family, the religion of my ancestors, and society in general, some friends said, “You must be so happy!” My emotions at the time were a little more complicated than that.
I am glad that as Unitarian Universalists, we are called upon to see “love” as complicated. From the pulpit, it wouldn’t be honest for any of us to say that simply loving each other was going to solve the world’s problems. In our community, I feel a lot of love in the way that you serve each other, participate in hospitality and show up for each other. I also know that being in community is complicated. We are different from one another. We sometimes say the wrong thing. We are not perfect. I do not call from the pulpit for you to repent and change for once and for all because I believe that transformation is the process of a lifetime and one that is not facilitated by shaming ourselves into “never doing something again.” As humans, we are involved in a kind of dance with our imperfections and the imperfections of others. Sometimes that dance is beautiful and full of energy and sometimes we get our toes stepped on. As my dance teacher said to me, “The worst mistake that you can make is being afraid of stepping on my toes.” Let us dance with abandon, like those samba dancers who came to celebrate the Candomblé ritual with us in mid- January. That complicated love that is like a dance will change everything.
In hope of more dancing,
Rev. Patty Willis