There once was a “Uni” named “Wendy,”
Whose horn glitzed in gold was so trendy.
She searched for her herd,
Where diversity is spurred—
Found the Fellowship varied aplenty!
Author & UUFP member Julian Padowicz marries his passion for writing with his zeal for sharing the UUFP story of embracing diversity.
Last month, Wendy learned what a gift it is "being present" with others. As she experiences inclusivity and what it means to be part of a Beloved Community, she hopes that both adults and children will share our story about who we are and what we do, as Unitarian Universalists, and offer a warm welcome to all to our stable—uh...we mean...Fellowship!
“Which Way to the 'Golden Rule'”
Wendy saw Veronica sitting on a rock by the side of the road and crying, so she stopped to see what the matter was. It turned out that Veronica had gone to the store for some colored pencils, a trip she had made many times before. However, because of a nasty looking dog on her way home, she tried a new route and had gotten lost.
"Where do you live?" Wendy asked, because she knew most of the streets in town. With Veronica sharing where she lived, Wendy invited her to hop on her back and had her home within ten minutes.
Then, a few days later, when Wendy saw Veronica again (this time playing with some other children in the park), Veronica waved to her. They chatted for a few minutes; Veronica asked Wendy to call her Ronnie, and a friendship had begun. Ronnie would climb onto Wendy's back, and Wendy would walk around, sometimes trot or canter, and the two would talk.
It turned out that Ronnie knew a lot of the kids that Wendy knew from the Unitarian Universalist congregation that Wendy belonged to, but she wasn't a member of the Unitarian Universalist congregation. She and her parents went to a white church with windows that had pictures painted on them, a tall steeple, and a bell that rang every Sunday. And this felt kind of strange to Wendy because all the kids and most of the grownups she knew went to her gray church with the several clear glass wall sections and no steeple or bell.
Wendy wasn't sure why it felt strange, since Ronnie, herself, didn't seem any different from the other kids Wendy knew. She liked ice cream and stories and laughing at funny things and games of tag and hide-and-seek and even the scary stories people told at Halloween. Ronnie even knew Miss Rollins with the long braids, who sang in Wendy's church's choir, because she was the music teacher at Ronnie's school.
Maybe it was because Ronnie spent her Sunday mornings in a different church and didn't hear the same stories that Wendy heard, she told herself. Maybe that was why being friends with Ronnie felt strange. Maybe it was because when Wendy talked about "our minister," Ronnie was thinking of a totally different person than the one Wendy was talking about, and sometimes Ronnie talked about "Saint Peter" or "Saint Joseph," and even a "Saint Veronica," as though these were people Wendy should know about.
Then, one day, Wendy said to herself, "If my friendship with Ronnie seems a little strange to me because we go to different churches, maybe it feels strange to her, as well." Thus, she decided that the way to make things not feel strange would be to bring her friend to the UU church one afternoon and show Veronica what she [Wendy] and her friends talked about on Sundays.
Wendy knew that on Thursday afternoons the front door was usually unlocked because some people went inside to do something, and she could bring Ronnie and show her around. So, the two new friends agreed on a date for Wendy to come to Ronnie's house and give her a ride to the UU church.
"This is your church?" Ronnie said, with a note of surprise, as they arrived in the UU parking lot. "This is where you come every Sunday to worship?"
"Well, yes," Wendy answered, surprised at her friend's surprise.
"But, where is your steeple and your cross?"
"We don't have a steeple," Wendy explained, "or a cross."
"But you have to have a cross. That's what it's all about, isn't it?"
"I don't know what you mean."
"I mean, about Jesus and the cross and the Resurrection."
Wendy was thoroughly confused. "I thought what it was all about was being nice to each other," she confessed.
"Well that too," her friend agreed, "but you also have to believe in something."
"Believe in something?"
"Oh Wendy, we belong to two different religions."
"Don't the people in your church believe in being nice to people?"
"Well, sure we do. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'"
"Yeah, treat other people like you want them to treat you."
”Right," Ronnie replied. "You know what I think?"
"Well, remember how you gave me a ride that first day, when there was that nasty dog on my usual route?"
"I sure do. We went around the far side of the pond, because I like the way the flowers smell there."
"Well, that isn't the way I usually go, because my dad always goes by the hardware store, and that's how I learned to go. But we still got to my house. I mean, you went the way you like to go, and I usually go the way I like to go, but both ways get you to the same place."
"You mean," Wendy pondered, "that there can be more than one way to get to the same place?"
"Exactly," Ronnie said.
Inviting each other to one’s church! What a great way for Wendy and Ronnie (and all of us) to grow in understanding of each other's spiritual journeys. Wouldn’t it be great if these two new friends and their churches could work together on a common project for the good of their community?
STAY TUNED TO SEE WHERE WENDY TROTS NEXT!
(Check out all the "Wendy the Unicorn" stories featured in the UUFP eFlame Blog under "Sharing Our Stories.")