The seasons have turned yet again, and the flowers are in full display… I absolutely love this time of year and the energy it brings. I find myself tackling big projects and making big plans at this time each year, reinventing myself and reimagining the world around me. It was at this time last year that I was training rigorously for my upcoming Camino. It was at this time last year too that I was planning for and participating in the Coming of Age Vision Quest weekend and getting the RE Committee ready to take on the bridging ceremony.
This year is different, to be sure, but also much the same – the last two weekends have been packed with youth retreats – both the regional middle school retreat weekend to Opal Creek, (which I planned and coordinated for the region, and which drew more than 60 participants from 3 different states), and the high school cluster con, (which took place in Corvallis and drew a handful of youth from various local churches, and which is almost entirely youth-led with the help of our fearless youth advisor and con coordinator, Amber Alexander!). I also hosted the regional Our Whole Lives (OWL) training here at UUCE, and along with an incredible team of helpers, provided meals for 26 people all weekend long. Huge thank yous to Susan Schneider, Laurel Allender, Kris Olsen, Kjerstin Starr, Amy Dessert, and Susan Verner for making that training possible.
In addition, I am on the planning team for a regional Director of Religious Education retreat set to happen in late July. I just got done teaching a two month long online class for the Unitarian Universalist Association. These activities I take on are to help move our faith forward, and to empower the people who work with our youngest congregants to continue their own good work in their own congregations. I’m telling you about them because it is likely that you don’t know. There is so much that goes on outside of Sunday mornings that make this place run. There is so much more to Sunday mornings than what you see standing on the risers. People, myself included, practice and plan for months for the songs they sing for you, the stories they tell you, the sermons they preach for you, and the activities they provide for you. There is so much more to the comings and goings that are in constant flux and flow here.
And spring is a great time to be a part of this place, because in the spring, you begin to see programs and people blooming, along with the flowers outside.
So again… for me, this year is like last year in many ways – lots of big projects, lots of energy brought by the returned sunshine, lots of balls in the air… but this year, I am doing things a little bit differently: I, Katy Siepert, your Director of Religious Education, this year, at this time, I am following my curiosity. I am starting an acrylics class. I actually get to go this afternoon to my first session. I am so excited by this small thing, it makes me smile just to type it. Big projects are wonderful, and because so many of my big projects happen behind the scenes, I can sometimes forget that they were important and/or useful to anyone. Typing out all of the things that I have done this year – a year I have described as being made up of “fallow” ground, myself as “slowing down” – I realize that I need to do a much better job of actually slowing down, not just giving lip service to it.
This painting class is a small undertaking. It doesn’t serve a larger purpose outside of myself. But I know that serving myself is actually a move in the right direction, toward slowing down, following my curiosity, and creating something for no-one, save myself…
I cannot wait.
What projects do you have up in the air at this time?
What things do you wish you were doing but don’t have time for because of your other responsibilities?
What small thing could you give yourself that would feed your soul?
What daring risk could you take that is totally low stakes but is thrilling nonetheless?
What sacred questions are you asking yourself? And what can you learn in the asking?