Hairbreadth Away

“To be human is to live a hairbreadth away from the unbearable.”

This line jumped out this week while reading a chapter in Serene Jones’ book “Trauma and Grace in a Ruptured World.”  A family member of mine who lost her 18 year daughter to a heroin overdose last year replied “I wish I had that distance.”  A hairbreadth felt so close until she replied and reminded me that, in fact, it is the lucky among us who can claim “the distance” of a hairbreadth.   Some of are in midst of the unbearable– and they/us need companionship and witness.  When we held our special “Sing and Share” service the day after the election, I asked folks to share in a brief word or phrase what had gotten them through an unbearable time.  What I recollect is that the majority of people said something along the lines of friends/family.  It is the people who can physically touch us and our lives, who clean up our house when we are coping with the death of a loved one, that makes the unbearable survivable.  Our spiritual and moral task is to draw that circle of companionship as wide as possible.


Though I suspect unintentional, this house on Christmas Tree Lane in Ceres, with their deflated inflatables, offered a powerful visual speaking to the tension and vulnerability so many are feeling this particular Christmas season. 

Making our circle bigger is part of the reason we are joining College Ave Congregational Church this Christmas Eve for worship, instead of doing our own service at UUFSC.  Rev. Michael and I will co-lead this worship of Carols and Lessons.  This is an experiment, an opportunity to connect with folks who share our values even if they tend to like a lot more Jesus and God language in their worship than we UUs do. But if there is a worship service where UU’s ‘do Jesus,’  it’s Christmas Eve.  Congregational churches are our religious cousins– Unitarians split off from the Congregationalists in Puritan New England. Ironically, since we split 200 years ago, Congregationalist churches (now part of the United Church of Christ denomination, UCC), are often the Christian congregations most closely in sync with UU values.  There is a joke that says UCC actually stands for “Unitarians Considering Christ.”   Celebrating Christmas eve together, with people who share our values of welcome, justice, and love, is a chance to draw our circle wider and strengthen our religious interdependent web.   Lord knows this historical moment requires us to build bridges, not walls.

This Sunday, I look forward to really living into the Christian wisdom of embodiment with our Multigenerational, No-Rehearsal Christmas Pageant: The Christian tradition teaches us to embody, to incarnate the divine, so embody we will! Join us for our multigenerational, pageant of Margaret Brown’s Christmas in the Barn.  Rev. Darcy, Matthew Mason, and Sabine Klein.






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