November 2016 seems likely to feature prominently In the story of our communities. We’ve been rocked by an election campaign and election results that that seem both shockingly unprecedented and reminiscent of some of the darkest chapters of our history.
Dickens’ famous opening sentence about “the best of times … the worst of times” builds from a recognition that “the present period” — whether it be in the late 1700s, the mid 1800s, or 2016 — will be seen “in the superlative degree of comparison only.” Hyperbole rules the day (and many days through history). Those who are hopeful will see “everything before us” and those who despair will see “nothing before us.”
At this time of extreme feeling, I’m working hard to hold onto a story that forms the foundation of my world view. You probably know the story in one form or another …
A favorite version for me is expressed in Robert Lawson’s “Rabbit Hill.” This 1940’s children’s book features a group of garden animals who worry about their future but ultimately conclude that all will be well because “there is enough for all.”
I understand “Rabbit Hill” as an elaboration of the Bible stories in which many thousands of people are fed by a few loaves and fishes. There is a miracle in this story: as small elements in a vast gathering of fellow travelers, we are enough.
This story touches me deeply because it resolves a fundamental anxiety about my insignificance in the universe with the recognition that we each play a critical role in sustaining one another. I understand this story to mean that we live in a benign and bountiful universe that depends on us.
There is power in this story. It inspires gratitude, encourages generosity, and teaches humility as it emphasizes our dependence on one another.
The animals on Rabbit Hill needed time and conversation to come to their shared understanding that “there is enough for all.” Our communities need us to put in time and join in conversation (with animals of all types) to share our Unitarian Universalist understanding about the world’s abundance and interdependence. Gathering together as the Tahoma UU Congregation will give us strength and courage voice to our truths.
Let us be grateful this Thanksgiving for all that the world provides and for traveling this most critical time together.
President, Board of Trustees