When our minister asks us to do these testimonials, he sends out a set of guidelines that says, basically, stick to how UUFP has transformed you.
As many of you know, I tend to gravitate to what’s abstract and underlying rather than what’s concrete and easy to see. So of course it would be unlike me to talk about how UUFP has transformed me in concrete or otherwise relatable terms ?. So I hope you’ll bear with me for some abstract musings.
This is how I see the world: Humans co-create the reality we experience. Just as I change the group, the group changes me. More abstractly, just as I inform the system’s reality, the system informs my reality. The medium by which we co-create is language and other symbolic forms of expression and impression. These symbols have functions, and therefore meanings, in our narratives of the universe and our respective places in it. That’s a complicated way of saying that each human relationship I make alters the story of reality a bit — both yours and mine. I like to think of each relationship as not so much a tie that binds, as a tie that weaves, creating sort of an interdependent web of lived experience, if you will.
I also like to think of these ties, these human relationships, constructed in the same manner as bungee cords. There are thin cords and thick cords. Every time we interact with someone, a thread is added to that cord making it thicker, stronger — for better or for worse (not all cords are healthy ones). But that’s why the ties between family members have the most strength and most impact in the woven fabric of our narratives, of our reality.
So in 2014 I began losing some of my thicker cords with the death of my father and sister, and a strange transformation of the cord with my mother — who had Alzheimer’s and eventually died in 2018. When we lose relationships, when we lose these cords, our ties to co-created reality are fewer. Lose too many and the warp and weft of the story becomes thin, and reality loses some meaning.
That didn’t happen to me, in spite of losing those strong, thick familial bonds. And it didn’t happen largely for one reason, and that is this congregation. I walked in, and on day one I started to make new relationships, new cords, new partners in co-creating reality: Enough of them to supplement and strengthen the local fabric of meaning in my own narrative of reality. And though nothing can replace the cords that I lost, the new ones are many and myriad, and sparkly, and interesting, and add new threads of strength for me each and every day.
So sticking to how UUFP transformed me: UUFP transformed my story — helped me weave my symbols into a bright new section of fabric, a new co-created reality with deep meaning and renewed strength… …which is a complicated way of saying, you all help me to be me.
So, thank you!
This member testimonial was given by its author during UUFP’s online worship service, Sunday, August 9, 2020.
Scott is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula. He has been a UU since the mid-1990’s and a K-12 educator since the early 2000’s. His hobbies are philosophy, theology, Star Trek, and caffeine – not necessarily in that order.