On Wandering and the Places You’ll Go

Cindy Davidson, Ministerial Intern

Our monthly theme of wandering and our annual giving campaign’s theme of “Let’s Journey Together” has me daydreaming … my mind meanders here and there… Oh, where are the places you’ll go? We’ll go?

In Dr. Seuss’s 1990 book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! the protagonist “you” in the book is portrayed in the drawings as young boy who wanders on life’s journey. Never having been a young boy myself, I’m asked to translate the disconnect between the “you” I hear and the images I see in the book; the visual learner in me bristles at the non-sight of my “you.” (Ever notice how some stories are better heard than read, or the “feels good when I’m included” factor in the “we” and “they”?)

Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience when taking in a story, film or work of art told through or by the personage or identity of someone very clearly “unlike-me.” I try to “let it go” and use these occasions as opportunities to practice perspective-taking. After all, isn’t that what we are challenged to do every day of our lives? Especially in this gathered, covenantal community?

In Dr. Seuss’ story, “you” and we the readers arrive at the “The Waiting Place,” waiting for something to happen and for the journey to continue towards resolution. Waiting for something to happen – suspense! Will it be by another’s actions? Our own? By happenstance, by plan? So many possibilities!

Whether we journey and wander in search of spiritual fulfillment and the realization of our highest ideals as part of our individual quest or as part of a collective endeavor, I think we would do well to recognize and follow our passions. I’m reminded of African American theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman’s words, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. What the world needs is people who have come alive.” Perhaps we would do well to interpret this “you” in both the singular and the plural: What the world needs is for every UU congregation to go and do what makes it come alive.

In this month’s Journey Group packet, Emilie Wapnik’s TED talk on "Multipotentialites" resonates with me deeply as a person who has wandered vocationally and avocationally my whole life. I wonder though, what if the “you” in this story is the collective you (y’all! yins!) and we think of this congregation as the vehicle for unleashing our multiple potentialities in service to the world? Casting a common vision of being “a sanctuary without walls that promotes diversity, fellowship, spiritual growth and inspiration, while committing to people and the planet through social action and service” is a good and exciting start and reflects well your collective passions and ways you come alive. Getting there -- moving from the waiting place onto the pathway forward -- will it happen by happenstance, miracle, or strategic planning?

How will you, I mean you, yes you, be in the middle of this story?

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