We laugh, we cry, but in the end, even to question is an answer


I was at the First Unitarian Society this morning thinking about the shootings in Colorado. I took off Friday as a mental health day. This was good because I had already earned a few hours of personal time. The first thing that I heard on Friday was about the killings. Then I started having memory issues. And finally I decided to take care of some personal business that took several hours to resolve. However, because I had not been in a position to  talk with anyone about my feelings, I had carried around a lot of grief yesterday.   Today was a possibility to explore some of them.

The sermon at the First Unitarian Society was about building community through establishing trust. It was given by an African American woman who will soon begin ministering in St. Croix. Apparently there is a Croatian community she will be serving as part of this ministry.  (You can’t make up these things)  Her name is The Rev. Qiyamah Rahman who spoke to the diverse  paths people take to Unitarian Universalism. She began as a Baptist, then became a Muslim and then an atheist before becoming a UU. There were fewer than ten African Americans (including me) in the sanctuary. However, in most cases, if I wanted to be surrounded by African Americans in a religious setting, it would mean embracing Christianity or Islam. Neither of which is an option for me, because it would mean giving up my lifelong beliefs.

I strove to derive meaning from all of this. There is a line from a Joni Mitchell song “he poured his contradictions out.” I bristled when the Rev. told a story from the Bible,  I wanted to hear something about Colorado  but in the end my emotions were captured in the closing hymn, “We Laugh, We Cry.”

We seek elusive answers to
the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to all
the waste of human strife.

We search for truth, equality,
and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here
to make sense of what we find.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a joy
being together.

And in our search of peace,
maybe we’ll finally see:
even to question truly
is an answer.

I struggled hearing the words and wanted to cry but in the end I suppressed my sadness and fled quietly as soon as the service had ended. I took the notes that I had written while waiting on the service. This is very selfish of me, I know. Someday I hope to be able to express emotion. Until then, there is the Internet.

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