Tag Archives: unitarian universalist

Inherent Worth & Dignity

Unitarian Universalists promote seven principles.  The first principle is the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  This week I was reminded that my eight year old is a far superior Unitarian Universalist than I may ever be.  Because after she told me what happened to her on the school bus I was really struggling to see the inherent worth and dignity in one particular little girl.

She was crying when she came up to the front door so it took me a short while to get an answer.  “Did something happen at school, Em?”

“Mom, she said I am a bad person.  She said I can’t be a Girl Scout if I don’t believe in God. She said if I don’t have God in my heart than I have the devil in my heart.”

I wrapped my arms around her tightly while she caught her breath.  And the words, the words that came tumbling from her lips next made me more proud than I have perhaps ever been. “I told them that I am a Unitarian.  And that I do go to a church actually. And that my church says you can believe in whatever you want.  I am a good person.  I am.  How could that God want to punish me when I didn’t even say anything mean when they were telling me that I was a bad person?”

The part of me that wants to start talking and never stop when I don’t know what to say exactly worked hard to stay quiet.  The less I said the more she spoke and the more I realized I needed to say nothing.

“The Girl Scout pledge says God but so does the Pledge of Allegiance. You don’t have to believe in God to be an American so I don’t think you do to be a Girl Scout.”

I kept quiet.  I was waiting for the shame, for the doubt, for the “what if they are right, Mom?”

“There is only one thing that I wish was different about our church.  I wish it wasn’t in the woods.  It’s kind of hiding and if we were right next to the road more people would know about us and more people would come because I bet a lot of people actually think that it is okay to believe whatever you want and just be a good person.”

She knows.  She knows she is a good person.  And it doesn’t matter what the Girl Scouts think.  Or a kid on the bus.  Or God.  She just knows.

In the last year I have thought frequently about our first principle as it applies to others.  I think about it in the moments that I try to apply my reality to another person and I see them coming up short.  I remind myself that they are their own person, they live their own reality, they have their own inherent worth and dignity.  It never dawned on me that if you believe in your heart of hearts in your own worth, in your own dignity, if you do not have self-doubt – it is so much easier not to condemn others.

My sweet Emily June, you have taught me more in your eight years than I may ever teach you.  This can’t be your first rodeo, kid.


Kicking back

A year ago, a Sunday afternoon in April, I was relaxed and kicking back with my little one asleep in my lap.  My big girl was laughing in the yard and I wondered if it was as good as it was ever going to get.

This afternoon I started to have that same feeling again.  Lucy Goose was down for the count.
As is normal for a Sunday afternoon Emily was outside, soaking up some sunshine. I sat down.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  This morning’s service at our Unitarian Universalist church was about Joy.  I don’t have any trouble finding Joy.  But I struggle with relaxing.  I am in constant motion.  Breathe in. Breathe out.  I decided I would paint my toe nails.  Maybe even read a book.  I was going to relax.

Check once more on the little one.  Still asleep.  Pop outside and check on the big one.  Painting a birdhouse on the front deck.  I suggested she paint the bird house in the yard.  “It is just so easy to spill, Em.  I know you are careful.  But why don’t you take your paints out in the yard?”  Reluctantly, she agreed.

Now where was I?  Relaxing, right?  I am gonna do this up right.  I was going to actually take off the old toenail polish, a luxury in the life of the stay at home mother.  Gone are the days I would soak my toes in hot, soapy water.  Cuticles were trimmed, nails trimmed and freshly polished weekly.  These days I slap on some new polish over the old stuff.  90 seconds, start to finish.

Nail polish remover.   Have you ever called out to a friend “Be careful the sidewalk is icy!” and in that very moment slipped on the ice on your stairs and fallen? No?  That’s only me?  I spilled the nail polish remover all over the kitchen table.  I wiped it up.  I cleaned it up.  I willed it to be Fine.  Sigh.  It was not fine.  At all.  I’d have preferred to have birdhouse paint on the front porch, thankyouverymuch.


I’ll just sand the table really fast.  A quick coat of water-based poly.  It will dry in two hours.  Sand.  Another coat.  Dry two hours.  Sand, bring it inside, and one more coat and… table will be fine by lunch time tomorrow.



Toes are painted.  I need to hurry up and relax.  Nap time is almost over.  Dammit.  I need to get better at this relaxing.  I have Joy pegged.  I am a pro at Joy.  Relaxing?  I need to work on that one.

Are you a Unitarian Universalist?

This morning two different people asked me a question. I hesitated to answer because I did not know how to respond. It was not a complicated question. But it was a label. I shy away from identifying myself as a member of any sort of a group, even if it is one I am proud to be a part of.

Two people asked me the same question this morning. “Are you a Unitarian Universalist?” Before I could answer the question I had to think about what that really meant.

I have been attending a Unitarian Universalist service regularly for several months. I also go to the grocery store often, have a Pinterest board filled with recipes and I cook dinner seven nights a week. But I don’t really think I am a Foodie. So, I do not think the regularity with which I attend church necessarily makes me a UU.

20130203-141702.jpgOn Friday night we were in the car. It was a Girl Party: me, Emily, Lucy and the twins from the down the street. We were going to church for Make your own Pizza & a Movie Night. As we approached the turn Em said to her friends “That’s our church there. It isn’t like other churches. It’s not a church-church. You don’t have to believe anything to go there. You just think what you want. You just pretty much have to be nice.”

So, the short answer to the question “Are you a UU?” – I think so. I try to be.  I want to be.