I Have Had Enough!

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“Self-righteousness is the root of all bad behavior.” –Meg Barnhouse

And the words of meditation just keep on coming. This weeks words that came to me during the meditation time seems to invoke the unseen strength everyone feels from time to time.

May this flame of a single, fragile point
Join the wall of fire
And forever burn
In friendship and love and hope.

May this flame upon a tiny candle
Be strong enough to light my way
Through turbulent darkness
And bring others with me.

May this flame of delicate light
Shine endlessly in the storm
That I may help others
When they reach for shelter.

Today’s sermon topic was “enoughness”, a Quaker concept of balancing lack with acquisition. With such a topic, one would expect the sermon to boil down to: “Seek moderation, stop buying what you don’t need, and be content with what you have.” But no. We are Unitarian Universalists. Our sermons are never that easy. “Enough” is a concept that varies from person to person. How much is “enough”? How can you tell too little from too much? These are questions that everyone needs to answer for themselves.

What “enough” is not is complacency, apathy, neutrality. Enough is the balance each person must find in order to put forth the appropriate amount of effort. Enough provides both a motivation and a solid foundation from which to act. Enough is the amount of action necessary to achieve a goal…however much that might be and whatever the goal is. Enough is a solid center a person can rely on without being smothered with a surfeit. I am reminded of a quote from Marry Poppins: “Enough is as good as a feast.”

As my words of meditation may indicate, there are some things I have had enough of. I have had enough of darkness. I have had enough of pain. I have had enough of doubt. I have had enough of the storm. I say this not as a frustrated cry. I do not regret what I’ve been through. I see it as a necessary series of events. When I say, “I have had enough!” it is a simple statement of “enoughness.” I have no wish to enter the danger of wallowing in pain and doubt and darkness, so I say, “No thanks. I have had enough.”

Reflections of Future Events

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It seems the meditation and candle lighting portion of the service is highly conducive to coming up with prayerful thoughts. For a second week in a row, words appeared in my head without effort or conscious intention.

I light this light
In praise and thanksgiving.
I light this light
For friendships saved.
I light this light
For guidance and shelter.
I light this light
For loved ones in pain.
I light this light
For the strength of memory.
I light this light
To reflect future hope.

Maybe I should eventually gather them together into a compilation of personal prayers.

It is an odd feeling, this mixture of the peace of serenity and the pain of loneliness. I expect and look forward to the time when the loneliness recedes. And yet there is something inside me that warns me of the vital nature of loneliness, that it would be a mistake to be entirely free of it. Some questions have no answers save that the question is asked in the first place. I suspect this is one such.

Lighting a Flame

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I grew up Unitarian Universalist, and in the UU tradition, the lighted chalice holds as much meaning as the cross for Christians, the Star of David for Jews, and the Green Man for Druids. As the chalice is lit, words are said. In my mind, the words are prayers, not of asking, but of affirmation.

I still recall the words we said in my grade school Sunday School class:

We light the light of new ideas. It is the light of our coming together to see new faces, to think new thoughts, to feel new love.

Many years have passed since I last said those words as a chalice was lit. Yet now that I am returning to the UU church, words are still said as the chalice is lit. The words said by the congregation are:

In the light of truth, and the warmth of love, we gather to seek, to find, and to share.

During the service, there is a time for meditation and prayer while people light a candle to focus on hopes, special events, or memories. As might be guessed by previous posts, I’ve been going through a rough time. But today, as I lit a candle words came to me instead of me saying the words. They came in the form of a reader response:

With this flame
I burn away my pain.
With this flame
I light the beacon of forgiveness.
With this flame
I relight the fires of friendship.
With this flame
I light the path of hope.
With this flame
I see my way clearly.

One more step on the path of healing accomplished.