After the Presidential election of 2016 I was lost. I felt betrayed and scared and worried about the people I cared about: what would happen to the queer people, the poor, the sick, and to me? I did nothing for weeks; no Facebook, no news, just hiding in my hermit cave.
Then I began slowly to come out; I went to the ocean to remind myself it was still there, I did my laundry and cleaned my house; the Zen saying “chop wood, carry water” ran through my head. There was nothing I could do about so much, so I retreated to the daily work. I needed to do something, something larger, but I had no idea what. I felt the world on my shoulders. Then I realized I wasn’t alone; I knew many others felt like me.
I realized I needed community, a community of like-minded people where I could pitch in my small contribution to a group of other small contributions. And to be in a place where I felt slightly more protected than completely out on my own. I came here, unsure of what I would do, only that I needed community. And I started looking at all the things UUSF does.
Shortly after becoming a member, I was asked to be a Lay Chaplain and 6 months after that decided to join the Worship Committee. I had plenty of fear around both. What does a Lay Chaplain do? I didn’t know many people in the congregation and had no idea what was expected. To make things worse, immediately after the announcement, people would ask me what we do; I had no idea! I just hoped I would figure it out when the time came.
And I did. I started visiting members of the congregation and just sat and listened. I found that some of these women were very much like me and we would have a lovely time talking about just everyday things. I always feel wonderful after a pastoral visit. I know that just making short visits has made a difference in someone’s life. And they helped me realize that my fears and struggles were not that different from theirs, that I was not alone.
And, while listening to them I began to find little things, very small simple things I could do, like teaching them how to use an iPad, setting up a UU service Podcast subscription (that helped connect them to our community ) and doing a very simple guided visualization.
It’s gratifying to know that going out to make visits as a Lay Chaplain helps members of our congregation feel more connected and less isolated. But I am truly blessed because it makes me feel more connected and less isolated as well.
I don’t have the solution to the worlds larger problems, but I feel like I have found my own small way to make the world a little better one person at a time. And I feel like I have some purpose to my life, something concrete I can do to make a difference.