from Robin Mitzcavitch, Director of Religious Exploration & Education
I have a history of not being a “joiner.” I grew up shy and unsure of where I fit in. I really had to be cajoled (usually by my closest friends) to get involved with something bigger than my small circle. When I finally took part, it was frequently with one foot out the door. Can you identify with that?
It was when I got into college, and then into the workforce, that I became a little more social. I had my children and then had the responsibility to get them engaged in activities. When my kids joined, I soon became more involved myself.
I can say to you, that I wish my parents pushed me a little more when I was young. I can now see the magic of being connected to a community that’s different from school or work. I think it’s especially critical for children to be introduced to this concept early on. What a gift it is to go somewhere every week, somewhere you don’t have to be; (you won’t get in trouble if you don’t go), and know you have a place to land. You have people around who you don’t see every day or maybe who you wouldn’t normally seek to be friends with. The group loves and accepts you. It’s like an alternate type of family. And what a beautiful way to expand your horizons, try out your ideas, or just relax in an environment of comfort. You come together, knowing that all of you actually chose to be together. This is a warm relief.
I see this occurring organically in our Youth Group at UUCW. It’s awesome; and not in the casual way we all use that word. I mean, I’m filled with awe when I’m around these high school teens. They have created a family outside of their homes, their schools, their teams, their hobbies. This is their group. This is where they come on Sunday evenings. This is where they belong.
I wish this type of community could be possible for ALL of us, and especially for the children here at UUCW. It should not be something that we look back on and wish we had. It should not be something that we have to wait to be in high school to have. It may take an initial push, or maybe a little cajoling, but it should be something we strive for now. Community is a place of belonging. When we belong, we gather strength. Then, with strength, we can try something new, create joy, and feel safe in being who we truly are.
Have you found your community yet? Let us help you! We have a new “Connections” team here at UUCW that you’ll be hearing more about. Ask about it at our Welcome Table. Aaron and I are also happy to be resources for you as well. If you are part of one of our amazing groups, please share what you like about it with others. Like and Share! Sometimes it takes a little cajoling, but it’s always worth it to bring another into the arms of belonging.
Community Means Strength
We are all longing to go home to some place
we have never been—a place half-remembered and half-envisioned
we can only catch glimpses of from time to time.
Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion
without having the words catch in our throats.
Somewhere a circle of hands
will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter,
voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power.
Community means strength
that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done.
Arms to hold us when we falter.
A circle of healing.
A circle of friends.
Someplace where we can be free.