I've been attending a Unitarian Universalist church for about a year now (quite different from the Baptist church I grew up in, but more in line with my beliefs), and I find that each time I go, I walk away with something new and/or inspiring to think about. This morning was no different.
This morning's sermon was about being our own saviors, being our own answers to our own prayers, or as Midwesterners bluntly put it: it was about pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps instead of waiting for someone else to put us back on the horse. This sermon really spoke to me. Our pastor, Rev. Lois Van Leer, suggested that often times we wait for a savior of sorts (a profit, god, the guy next to us, or a knight in shining armor) to deliver us, or others, from our miseries. However, what we often fail to see is that most of the time we, as individuals, are the ones we are are waiting for, the ones who can change the situation for the better.
Each one of us has the power to stand up for what is right. Each one of us has the power to ask for help when we need it. Each one of us has the power to put a bully in his place. It's just a matter of finding the courage and wisdom to do the right thing at the right time. If we wait for someone else to find the wisdom, courage, and power to do what needs to be done, it probably won't happen.
What an interesting thought: being our own saviors, being the ones we have been waiting for.
I connect to this on so many levels. Since I've been on my own, I have found that if I sit back and wait for some other force to take over (be it God, time, or another person) and allow that force to make my decisions or to act for me, nothing happens or the wrong (for lack of a better word) thing happens; my life continues to move in a straight line. However, if I step back, take control of what I can control, and do something about a situation, my life path, or someone else's, changes-- usually for the better.
My life would be so different if I would not have filled out that application to be a foreign exchange student after my senior year in high school. My life would be so different if I would have ignored my calling to teach. My life would be so different if I had gone along with relationships that didn't suit me. My life would be so different if I would have waited for some magical force to heal my broken heart after my home town was destroyed. My life would be so different if I only waited for some sort of savior to bail me out whenever life threw something ugly in my path.
I'm so glad that my parents and other trusted mentors taught and encouraged me to take control of my own destiny. I'm so glad they taught me to fend for myself and how to pull myself up when I get knocked down. I'm so glad they taught me how to ask for help when the obstacle is too great to be managed on my own. I'm so glad that they taught me not to be bitter about the things that happen to me or to others I care about, but to instead accept those things and deal with them as they come.
This morning I needed the reminder and affirmation that bad things can and do happen to good and innocent people. I needed to hear that I shouldn't just sit back and wait for things to change on their own, that I need to do my part. I needed to be reminded of why I teach-- to help kids find their boot straps, courage, and wisdom. I needed to be encouraged. I needed to be reminded. Mission accomplished.
Happy pondering! :)