When I came of draft age the Vietnam War was over, and this country has not had a drafted armed services since then. Growing up though I knew many from my neighborhood, who were forced into the service by the draft, or by the alternative threat of going to prison. Today although we have a volunteer armed services, many were inspired by patriotism after 9-11 and also many are forced into service as their only way out of poverty due to a lack of job opportunities elsewhere. And it seems for better or worse, there have been many opportunities for people in the armed services.
Until I was five years old, I had a unique talent. Or what I as a four year old thought was a unique talent. I could have my eyeballs go in multiple directions at the same time, and even into my head so only the whites of my eyes were showing. After one too many demonstrations of this at the dinner table, and kindergarten looming my parents thought maybe I should see an eye doctor. And so it was that at the age of 4 years old I had an operation to strengthen the muscles in my eyes. I remember clearly today as I am standing here in front of you, the moment I woke up from the operation. Everything was dark. I remained silent somewhat disoriented as I pondered whether I had lost my sight completely.
Then my other senses took over, and I heard talking. Then someone realized I was awake. I was told to stay calm, and why is it that when someone tells you to stay calm, that your anxiety increases exponentially. What they meant was don’t move. And when I stopped moving, they slowly pulled the patches off my eyes. And the light was blinding at first as I had gotten used to the darkness…Then it was blurry and I could make out some shapes, then clarity came back to my vision and the first thing I saw was a stack of books next to my hospital bed. The top book I remember was Mary Poppins. Thus began my love affair with books and Julie Andrews. And although the operation was a success, it left me with some side effects
If I had to narrowly define my theology, I would call myself a Mystical Humanist. The theological context of my call to Unitarian Universalist Ministry is my realization that we are part of something greater than ourselves. Initially, reason and critical thinking led me to the theological position of Humanism. By using the word Humanism, my understanding is that we as humans have the ability and the responsibility for learning about and understanding the purpose of our existence. I believe humanity has the ability to create and destroy, and thus, we are responsible for the outcome of our actions. What we do with our life, and how we do it, matters.
I remain a searcher of knowledge and wisdom, and I keep an open mind. I believe that there is much that is still unknown to us. Curiosity and persistence are strong traits of mine, and this keeps me open to experiences and knowledge that has allowed my theology to evolve.
I have had personal experiences that lead me to believe that there is something that makes us interconnected and interdependent with the rest of reality. In deep states of meditation and in walking a labyrinth, I have felt this connection to the larger universe. I believe when I am really in touch with my inner self, I am connected to the universe, and I see others and the environment around me more clearly. I become comfortable with who I am. Due to this, I am not defensive and thus, I am open to hearing and accepting the stories and wisdom of others and connecting with them. It is in the awakening of these connections with others, that I find and create meaning in life.
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