What Does It Mean To Be
A People Who Embrace Possibility?
Of all our themes this year, Embracing Possibility is arguably most central to our faith. It has distinguished Unitarian Universalists from the start. Historically, when others saw depravity and sin at the core of human identity, we saw potential. When many were preaching that this world was fallen, we fell in love with the possibility of heaven on earth. Theologically, you might say we were the people who believed that God hadn’t given up on us and so we shouldn’t give up on each other or this world. Psychologically, it’s led to us being a people of “why not?” Why not give people another chance? Why not fight what seems a losing battle? Why not risk a little failure?
So that’s our religion. But what about us personally? How open have you been recently to “Why not?” How’s your faith in possibility doing? As we honor our religion’s faith in what’s possible, we need to allow space for the reality that trusting possibility isn’t so easy for many of us. Here’s how one Soul Matters member puts the challenge:
“When I think of possibility, I think of all the people and opportunities we close the door on. Such as: ‘I will never see eye to eye with my sister.’ ‘I couldn’t possibly leave this job to start my own business’ ‘I will never have close friends like I had where I used to live.’ ‘I will never really make a difference, so why bother?’“
We tell ourselves so many small stories about who we and others are. So many tiny tales of what the world could be. Part of it has to do with real life defeats. But often a bigger part of it is about imagined fear and protecting ourselves. There’s comfort in convincing yourself that the effort is hopeless; that way you don’t have to try and risk failure, hurt or disappointment, yet again.
All of which is to say that maybe Embracing Possibility has more to do with being a people of vulnerability and courage than we’ve thought. The work isn’t just about believing in possibility. It’s about being willing to endure a few wounds along the way. It can hurt to be hopeful.
So maybe the question this month isn’t “Are you ready to lean into possibility?” but “Who’s beside you and who are you bringing along?” “Who have you gathered to patch and pick you up when the path gets bumpy?” Whose faith can you lean on when yours grows dim? After all, no one makes it down the road of possibility alone.
And perhaps that’s the real secret: remembering that “Why not?” is something we all have to say and sing together. It’s not a solo act. For it to sink in – and better yet take flight – it needs to be at least a duet. Of course a quartet is even better. And just imagine what we might pull off if we can gather a choir, all singing the tune of “Why not?!” at the top of our lungs!
– Courtesy of Soul Matters Sharing Circle a UU theme-based ministry program
Which Quote is You…right now?
Sometimes we read a quote and it perfectly captures what’s going on for us right now. It puts into words what we’ve felt but been struggling to articulate. Suddenly everything falls into place.
With this in mind, spend some time this month reading through the quotes in the Companion Pieces section below to find the one that best articulates your dance with Embracing Possibility right now.
Then do some further reflection: Was it easy to pick out one? Hard? Consider spending some time sharing the top 2-3 quotes you are considering with a partner or friend and asking them which quote they think fits you best. And if you are really adventurous, get creative and turn that quote into a drawing or doodle. And then decide where you might hang that illustrated quote so it stays alive and in your awareness throughout the month.
Questions for Reflection
- How has your belief in the possibility of a better world grown or shrunk over the past couple of years?
- Who taught you the most about defying expectations and unleashing your potential and possibility? How did their courageous living spill over into your own?
- When it comes to possibility, are you among those who carefully access the cliff and gather an abundance of gear for the descent? Or are you one of those who simply leap and trust that you’ll figure it out on the way down? And…what does your partner or family think of your particular way of pursuing the possibilities that lie at the bottom of the cliffs?
- What do you know about the possibilities that live on the other side of grief?
- Is it possible that the thing you’re sure you’re right about is wrong?
- Is “That was unfair!” or “I was wronged” keeping you from the possibility of moving on?
- Are you sure you’re too old to do it?
What is your question?
Agency for New Americans
The Agency for New Americans (ANA) is here to help refugees achieve self-sufficiency in their new lives by providing the skills, education, and support necessary during their resettlement period.
Our mission is to improve the educational, social and economic well-being of new Americans and communities in which they live by creating individual, agency and public/private partnerships.
This year we are proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary, helping over 3,300 refugees resettle here in Boise!
The Agency for New Americans is a refugee resettlement agency in Boise that uses a holistic approach to assisting its refugee clients to get on the path to self-sufficiency and integration.