In the dedication of his play, Man and Superman, G. B. Shaw wrote:
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap… The only real tragedy in life is the being used by personally minded men for purposes which you recognize to be base.”
It’s a joy ‘to be used for a purpose recognized by oneself as a mighty one,’ but there are times when I have to slow down the pace, so I don’t get ‘thrown on the scrap heap’ sooner than necessary. I’ve learned how to do that; it’s about self-care. I’ve been practicing.
What about you? Do you know how to pace yourself? Do you know how to take care of your own needs, even if there are people suggesting you should be paying attention to them—now!
Mary Oliver, in her poem, The Journey, says,
“…you felt the old tug at your ankles. ‘Mend my life!’ each voice cried…”
Often the candles on Sunday mornings are offered as support to and concern for loved ones, but sometimes a candle is offered for the person him or herself. That happened at each of the services last Sunday. I was touched. It takes a special kind of courage to ask for what you need.
I’ve attended several dinners lately where Gail Pesyna, our tireless canvass chair, ‘the money lady,’ as she calls herself, has stood up after the dessert has been served, and has asked for what we need to continue the work of this congregation.
I’m impressed with her forthright presentation and pleased with the generous response she has gotten from those in attendance.
It’s not only about the money, of course. Once a year we have to get out the big collection plate, otherwise known as a pledge card, and ask members and friends to write a promissory note. Gail asks people to pause and ‘think about some of the things you love about this congregation,’ then ask yourself ‘what’s the right number to put on the card?’
She and John set a high standard, not only with their generous pledge, but the time and effort they give, and the wonderful spirit with which it’s all wrapped. Packaging matters. Theirs comes with a touch of humor, tied in a big beautiful bow.
There have been lots of things in the news recently that remind me how important this place is to so many people—and there are people who haven’t yet found us, people who need a place like this…a thoughtful and compassionate approach to the issues of religion and spirituality, as well as the values of freedom, reason and tolerance that form the foundation of our faith.
I hope you’ve planned to be involved in Fellowship weekend, attending one of the special concerts, the potluck dinner, or the poetry-at-the-beach gathering. And I hope you pause before filling out your pledge card and write a pledge about which you can feel good. I want to express my personal appreciation to you for your support. I hope to see you again soon.