“Spring is the season of surprise when we realize once again that despite our perennial doubts, winter’s darkness yields to light and winter’s deaths give rise to new light. So one metaphor for spring is “the flowering of paradox”… The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them in hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love. But in the spring we are reminded that human nature, like nature herself, can hold opposites together as paradoxes, resulting in a more capacious and generous life.” -Quaker author Parker Palmer in A Hidden Wholeness
The “flowering of paradox” captures what I feel strolling or driving through the Valley these days–almond blossom season in the Valley is so stunningly beautiful and magical (and allergy filled). And as I smile in appreciation of that beauty, I cannot help but also feel a pang of pain as I think about the sweat of the poorly paid immigrant labor that nurtures these orchards just as much as the soil and rain. Or the Valley farmers who overwhelmingly voted for our 45th president and in many ways feel so distant to me, despite being surrounded by their orchards. Here again I find an experience of beauty intricately interwoven with pain. “The deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair. The deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring.”
In the mission statement feedback sessions, one word that got repeated about this congregation was that it was a”refuge,” “haven” and “sanctuary” from dominant and dehumanizing worldviews. UUFSC is a refuge. And there are some things, like the flowering of paradox, which we cannot find a haven from– things that we must confront, preferably in the context of a sanctuary, of community. What paradoxes are flowering in your life?
This Sunday in worship: Hell is Other People…But So is Heaven– “Hell is Other People” said Jean Paul Sartre in his play No Exit. The trouble is, so is heaven. Worship Leaders this week are Rev. Darcy Baxter, John Patton, and Sabine Klein.
After worship this Sunday, newcomers to UUFSC are encouraged to join me for the first part of a three class New to UU Series: March 12, 26 and April 23. Each class will last 75 minutes (11:45 am – 1:00 p.m.) On March 12th, we will explore “Where UUism Comes From, Where We Are Going.” On March 26th, we will explore “How UUs Believe” and on Apr. 23, we will explore “How UUs Belong.” Please bring snacks to share! In the Education Bldg.