Steven serves UU Santa Fe as Consulting Lifespan Learning Director
“You do not have to be good. / You do not have to walk on your knees / for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. / You only have to let the soft animal of your body / love what it loves. / Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. / Meanwhile the world goes on. / Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain / are moving across the landscapes, / over the prairies and the deep trees, / the mountains and the rivers. / Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, / are heading home again. / Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, / the world offers itself to your imagination, / calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting— / over and over announcing your place / in the family of things.”—Mary Oliver
There are times in our lives when we need to be on our knees—when seeking forgiveness or in supplication, or atonement. The trick is knowing when to get on our knees, and just as, and maybe more importantly when to get up. One thing about walking on our knees is that it’s usually caused by something in our past, in our looking behind us or over our shoulder. Another thing about walking on our knees is you can’t move forward very well and certainly not very fast. People walk on their knees; so do families, congregational communities, even our denomination.
I would be one of the first to tell you we need to be a peace with our past. Often with our mistakes, especially the ones we didn’t learn from so well. They have a way of coming back, those—reminding us that we are often weak and consistently imperfect. But I think it’s not so important that we are imperfect, that we unravel, act out, or fail to put our best selves forward—what’s important is what we do about it now.
My point is this, walk on your knees when you need to but then get up and move on, not in spite of, but because of those imperfections. I don’t know when the right time to “get up” is for you but I’m betting that you do. Trust yourself with this Holy Thing and “announce your place in the family of things.” We’ll welcome you home.
So, get up. Patch your jeans. And remember we live in a world where the “Gods laugh loudest when we mortals seek perfection.” See you on Sunday.