Minister’s Newsletter for November, 2017 – Rev. Patty Willis

Where is Wisdom?
November Monthly Theme: Wisdom Keepers


Lou’s mother Joy was a wisdom keeper. When I was faced with the decision about whether or not to go to Salt Lake City and serve the South Valley community as a minister, I asked her, “What do you think about our moving to Salt Lake City?” She responded that she would pray. The next morning, she said, “I don’t have a clear answer. I can only say that I don’t think it will be a bad decision.” Even though she wanted us very much to be living near her, she was not certain that Salt Lake was right for us. Since she died three years ago, we have missed her sense of humor and lightness and her wisdom.

During the past five years, I have received your wisdom and I hope that you have received mine. This giving and receiving wisdom can catch us at our most vulnerable: what if our wisdom isn’t applicable to others? I can think of times when I offered wisdom or a place for someone to find inner wisdom. I can remember times when I wasn’t right. I have sometimes told you of books that were sources of wisdom for me and you didn’t find them helpful at all. Sometimes, like this summer, when Phil Quigley recommended a book to me like Love 2.0, How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become by Barbara L. Fredrickson, I found transformative wisdom in it. This book made me understand what I have experienced over and over in my life: the micro-moments of connection with strangers and people I have lived with for decades. These are times when our hearts are open and we are completely present to another human who is being present. The wisdom of this book introduced a ritual to our household: at night we think about those moments we had during the day. Thanks to our dog Louie, I experience many such moments during our walks as dog owners have opened themselves to having Louie meet their dog. This can take under five seconds but during that time, we catch the dog owners’ eyes and experience what I have learned, thanks to this book, to recognize as love. When I come home from our Sunday services, Wellspring Wednesdays and the Community Health Fair I have had many such moments to recount. I invite you to begin a practice of recounting these moments at night before you sleep. These could be what you carry with you into dreamland instead of the terrifying news.

Thank you, Phil, and all of you who have given of your wisdom. May we continue to be ready to give and receive what may or may not be wisdom to others. And, may we be ready to be present and create more and more of those micro-moments that are love.n love and community,