Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper: A Well of Grief


Grief has been on my mind these past few weeks, as I have witnessed so many people experiencing losses of loved ones. We know anecdotally that January is a busy month for dying, and I have seen this phenomenon repeat itself over and over as each day more people share news of their Beloveds dying, sometimes suddenly, but more often after an illness.

We, too, have experienced loss in our community, with two candles lit these last few Sundays for lives of people that we have loved. In any given day, we are faced with small and large losses that touch the well of grief within.

My sadness has drawn me to seek out familiar words of comfort, and I recall the Mary Oliver poem, “Heavy” –

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying.

I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had His hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
“It is not the weight you carry

but how you carry it—
books, bricks, grief—
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

When you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind and maybe

also troubled—
roses in the wind,
The sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?

Grief is a complicated emotion, and each of us experiences it differently. When I first learned about the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – I expected that I would move through them one by one, check them off, and be finished with my grief process. How wrong I was! I have come to understand that grief is much more like the water table, which flows under the ground all the time, and I interact with the water when I dip a bucket down into a well, wade into a pond, or trip over a puddle. As Oliver says, “It’s not the weight you carry, but how you carry it.”

We all manage our grief differently as well, using different coping mechanisms to work through the process. There isn’t a right way to do this. The most important thing is to be gentle with ourselves and with each other. Remember, that each new grief recalls the ones we have experienced before. Make space for your grief, and know that you are not alone. Remember that “We need one another when we mourn and would be comforted” (George Odell)

May you each find respite from your own well of grief, and may the simple daily actions of your life bring you solace.

Joy Berry: On Going to Church in a Post-Church World


Let’s face it, the very idea of going to church seems so…well, old-fashioned. Like something our grandparents did. An anachronism. Hasn’t the world moved on?

Currently, about 40% of Americans attend church services regularly. The world has moved on from the days in the 1950s and 60s when liberal parents started Unitarian, Universalist, and UU fellowships, at least in part so that their kids could say they had a “church home” when asked by their more religious peers. Increasingly, it can seem that the idea of a faith community has lost relevance in a post-modern world with an infinitude of options available to us as we consider how to spend our weekends. As a professional religious educator, I’m biased, of course. And it hasn’t escaped me that there appear to be strong positive correlations between church attendance and health, especially as we age. But I’d like to encourage us to really focus on three “unique competencies” that a congregation or church still can lay claim to.

Churches are one of the only institutions or systems left in our culture that are truly multigenerational. Is it important to human beings to have elders and youth taking part in the same ceremonies and rituals, to be part of the same tribe? I think so. Particularly when families are more likely than ever to live far from their extended family, children need to see and know older folks who are part of their tribe; elders need to be around young people too. There is a deep human evolutionary expectation for multigenerational teaching, learning, and socializing. We offer that as a given in a faith community where children and youth join services regularly, and where congregants of all ages join the Religious Education teams that teach classes and lead activities. As a mom, I consider the diverse array of adult mentors and teachers who have graced my own kids’ lives to be a blessing I could not have curated otherwise. They have learned that they have a group of grown-ups who care about their well-being, especially their emotional and spiritual development. They have learned that grown-ups come together to support young people as they grow and learn. Priceless! And on many occasions older adults have come to me to share how buoyed their own lives have been by their work with children and youth. The infusion of energy and joy and curiosity and cleverness that our children carry can help us remember our own light and clarity of purpose.

Congregations provide a particular kind of support and fellowship that humans need. Although we don’t understand perfectly what the causal factors are, we know going to church is positively correlated with health benefits. According to a recent New York Times article, “Religious attendance…boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life.” It has been associated with a decrease in the risk of Alzheimer’s too. We can assume social support is part of that, but surely the very real stress reduction (including free child care while one meditates, works in social justice, or listens to an edifying sermon) is part of that too. And I believe that sharing rituals and ceremonies strengthens the spirit in ways we don’t fully comprehend and can’t measure.

There are reasons why Unitarian Universalism is one of just a few denominations that are growing or plateaued, rather than shrinking–a progressive faith that is inclusive and welcoming to all is a better fit with today’s American than ever. Our theology works well for a culture moving away from hell-and-brimfire-damnation and toward the idea that whatever our human fate, we will share it; the essential doctrine of Universalism. This same doctrine compels us to do one more thing that is unique to faith communities, especially liberal ones:

Opportunities to change the world for the better. Church gives us a chance to work together in multigenerational communities to determine where we will devote targeted, shared energy to help those in our local and global communities. Recently in RE our kids devoted a Sunday to learning about, teaching each other about, and voting on how we would donate monies to help families in need. As we did so, we reflected on our shared principles and how they guide us toward making a difference in the world. As we grow older in faith communities, we can share and reify the ideological work that allows us to focus our human compassion toward change, while we explicitly teach our kids that this is what people do.

Thank you for making the commitment to being with us. I hope you will deepen your engagement with this congregation, especially if you have an interest in Religious Education, but we have many ways to grow and, as a mentor used to say, swim in the deep end of the pool together. Church is good for us–keep the faith!

Sermon: The Good of All (text & audio)


Our Director of Administration, Linda Topp, is… known for being blunt. So, I was a bit taken aback when earlier this week, she called me into her office, with a sort of sheepish look on her face and said, “Can we change the wording in your sermon blurb before it goes out in the enews? I mean, I know your sermon will not actually be a snoozer, but the words ‘congregational polity?’ those are a snoozer.”

Wait, what??! Whooya callin’ a snoozer, Linda?! I mean, I know I’m a geek about this stuff, but c’mon! It’s one of those buzzwords that doesn’t inspire confidence. Honestly, I’m not sure why it comes off as such a bore, especially since it is so fundamental to who we are! Congregational, of course, refers to the gathered community within a church or other religious body. Polity means governance structure.

Let me pause for a quick point of order – a few years ago, you voted to change the name of this community from the UU Church of Asheville to the UU Congregation of Asheville. This was done this largely because the word congregation is more inclusive to people who do not identify as Christian, and it is important to us to have an inclusive and welcoming name. For the purposes of this sermon, and because it relies on the historical record, I will use the words church and congregation interchangeably.

So, congregational polity is central to our faith – it’s our religious DNA – core to our identity as Unitarian Universalists. It matters, because it impacts who we are today and how we organize and create community.

Congregational polity means that the people are the ultimate authority in Unitarian Universalism. It is why there were congregational meetings in 2004 and 2014 when you voted to call both of your ministers. As a governance structure, its origins are rooted in both the history of Reformed Christianity and the birth of America.

In 1637, a group of people in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in what is now Dedham, decided to gather and create what they called the Free Church. They began holding cottage meetings, not to discuss and decide on what they believed, but how they would gather.

These meetings had a few simple rules, which I share as paraphrased by Alice Blair Wesley, “Rule 1: They would decide before leaving each meeting what question to discuss next week… Rule 2: Each week the host of the house would begin, speaking to the agreed-upon question. Then everyone else could speak by turns… Rule 3 was: Here we speak our own understandings our doubts. No arguing.” (ABW, p19)

The Dedham rules are surprisingly similar to the guidelines we use for small group ministry today. In any case, they spent over a year asking questions of one another and having these discussions before the congregation was founded in 1638. They understood that a healthy church would mirror a healthy society in which “concerns for justice, peace and reasonable laws can be freely and effectively voiced, without suppression.” (ABW, p.20) So the free church was established with an explicit responsibility to both its own members and the larger society.

They created a “…radically lay-led church gathered by mutual consent rather than by mutual belief.” (ABW) At that time, their beliefs actually were very similar. They could easily have organized as a creedal church, but chose not to. They were, of course, reacting against the prescriptive and limiting reality of the English church – it was the 17th century, after all, and these were colonists.

This doctrine, this way of organizing, comes out of an historical context. It is steeped in the outcomes of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, impacted by British political and church politics, and intertwined with the American Revolution. The ideas and governance structure created by the folks in Dedham was described in and codified as the Cambridge Platform, which remains the highest authority on the origin of congregational polity as practiced by a number of denominations, including the United Church of Christ, the Baptists, and most Anabaptist and non-denominational congregations.

All week, a phrase kept popping into my head – an earworm, if you will, with no music. You may recall it. “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” It’s the final line of the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence came out of the same political and social stew as the Cambridge Platform. Over a century after the Dedham church was founded in the Massachusetts Colony, the country itself was founded. These new Englanders believed that the strongest, clearest, most authentic voice in their whole society would come from the Free Church once it was established. (ABW, p20)

When you are living in Massachusetts, or even greater New England, you are surrounded by the origins of both Unitarian Universalism and the country, and you can see their interconnectedness everywhere. You can visit Walden Pond, and many of the pivotal moments in the revolution are intertwined with churches that are now part of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Names of the founding fathers are sprinkled throughout the cemeteries and named rooms or buildings of numerous local churches. Similar to living in Asheville, where everywhere you turn you can see views of mountains surrounding us – this history is simply part of the scenery.

Interestingly, the values that caused the folks in Dedham call a series of cottage meetings and set their intentions down on paper were the same values that caused the revolution and the birth of the United States. They had been persecuted in England, moved to the colonies seeking freedom, and worked diligently to lay out a societal structure that would guard against the kind of limits on free expression they had fled.

It’s a question of authority, and of integrity.

Who has the authority? The people. The congregation has the power – through freedom of the pew – the right to discuss, decide and express the vision and mission of the congregation. So too is there a provision for freedom of the pulpit. In fact, the boilerplate contractual language for most ministers (including Mark and myself) calls the pulpit “…free and untrammeled.” It goes on to say that “The Minister is expected to express his/her values, views and commitments without fear or favor.”

And the freedom of the pew is defined by your shared covenant – the bonds of affection you create with one another, and the relationship between the congregation and its minister.

As John implied in his opening words, the congregational idea of freedom is complicated. It’s not that we can do, say, or believe whatever we feel like. It is that we choose to be in community, and we are free to explore and understand our own mind, our own heart, our own truth. And we do it together.

It is a beautiful thing. We are gathered together, here in Asheville, North Carolina, far from the places this faith began – far from Geneva, where Michael Servetus was executed, far from Hungary and the Edict of Torda, far from Boston – and yet we are connected to this tradition. We, too, have the opportunity to pledge to one another our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Our bonds of affection are stronger because we choose them.

And that is the power of the Free Church: The power of choice. I once heard an “elevator speech,” that ubiquitous attempt to explain Unitarian Universalism in the time it takes for an elevator to go from floor to floor, that centered around the origin of the word “heretic,” which is the Greek for “one who chooses.” Our lives as religious liberals are full of choices. But fundamental to them all is the one We choose to be together, not because we share belief or creed, but because we share a commitment to the good of all.

I began this morning with the words of the Griswold Covenant. It is the most famous of the covenants that is used by UU congregations today – having been adapted time and time again. The members of the Dedham congregation followed a more explicitly Christian covenant, but they created a covenantal organization that lifted love as the highest value, and we have followed in their footsteps.

Covenant is about relationality. If we have no creed – we must nonetheless have something to bind us together. And so we make these relational promises to one another in this community. Our cultural fabric is full of promises – from the Hippocratic oath under which a doctor operates, to the promise to serve and protect as a law enforcement officer. Most of these promises, however, are enacted in relationships between individuals or small groups. Our covenant begins with one on one or small group relationships, but it expands further to connect and include people we may never meet. Our integrity as a community relies on our shared commitment to this covenant.

Can we identify our commonly shared loyalties? What is most important to us? If love is the spirit of this church, what is it that we, as a congregation, most love? Where are we putting our energy? Our lives are intertwined by the covenant we share.

John shared a version of our liberal covenant earlier in the service – and what a lovely, lofty goal those words are: With incomplete knowledge, partial truth and uneven love, we nonetheless believe that the bonds of love keep open the gates of freedom. She acknowledges that there is always more to learn, but that fulfillment is possible for us and for our children – and that, like the settlers in Dedham did, we have a responsibility to the world outside this gathered community. Though our 17th century forbears did not have golden shirts with catchy logos on them, they were committed to the ideal of an active, engaged love.

Keeping covenant is a challenge. I recently spent some time reflecting on the fact that I am in covenant with somewhere around 1500 people – other UU ministers – most of whom I have never met. It’s a strange and challenging reality. You, too, have this challenge. We have close to 600 Members, somewhere over 100 Friends. And more people who have not signed the membership book but affiliate with this congregation. You, too, are in covenant with people you don’t know.

And so, how do we do that? How do we love one another when we may not know one another? It is in some ways like any relationship. When I write vows with couples preparing for their wedding, I always encourage them to include a formal vow – whether the words are traditional or not – so that they will be promising the same things to each other. My own wedding vows were like this: we repeated the same vows to each other, and we return to those vows regularly, to see how we are doing, to revisit, to re-promise. A covenant is an active and relational promise, and requires presence and attention to sustain itself. Cindy and I each have three stones in our wedding rings – which remind me that there are three parts to my marriage: myself, my wife, and the two of us together.

We begin with a lofty promise, and then we live our lives in the day to day. And so it is for congregational life.

Sometimes living in covenant feels like striving toward an impossible ideal. It’s often messy. We fall down, we hurt each other’s feelings, we make mistakes. And yet, we continue to return to that highest ideal, we continue to strive.

We choose to be faithful, to be loyal, and to remain in relationship, even when it feels impossible, even when we are uncertain, hurt, or lonely.

We choose to remain in relationship because life’s venture is important, and we understand that we are that venture.

The legacy of the Cambridge Platform is the practice of lifting relationship above creed – covenant above doctrine – so much so that love becomes the doctrine. Our own congregational covenant, which I will explore in more depth in the second installment of this sermon series on January 25th, ends with the line, “Our life together declares that the future of each depends on the good of all and the future of all depends on the good of each.” And so we, here in Asheville, have taken up the charge laid out by the settlers in Dedham over three centuries ago.

May we reach toward the ideal of our own covenant

May our history inform our future together

And may active, engaged love remain our highest ideal

May it be so.

Jane Bramham: Ministering Well


Expectations. Whether we set new goals or resolutions for a new year or at some other juncture, when we make a decision to pursue a goal or start a new project there comes a time to assess our progress. If we find ourselves on a different trail, is it because we missed the signpost or because we learned an alternate route was more scenic?

For the Lead Minister each day’s walk is different, and on some of those paths Rev. Mark Ward encounters crowds, and others are nearly solitary routes. In the process of figuring out how to review his work, we have come to realize that, just as some of us know in our own job descriptions, much of what the Lead Minister does in our—or any large—congregation is largely unseen. Mark is visible while leading worship and preaching, and many of us personally know his role in pastoral care, although few realize how much time he devotes every week to this.  He spends much time behind the scenes preparing for each worship service to make it “beautifully crafted into a meaningful whole,” as services were described at one of our listening meetings.

Other of his ministerial roles are delineated in the Letter of Call and include working with the Board, being responsible for all congregational committees, and providing staff leadership and evaluation. In addition to participating in Social Justice events, he attends national and regional ministerial gatherings and meetings. One of our expectations, shared by Mark, is that he has space on his schedule for professional and personal growth.

The Board and Congregation are considering our visions for our future and what ministries we can do well together. The ministerial review process should ensure clear mutual communication of congregational and ministerial goals.

As the UUCA Board of Trustees, we set our expectations for the Lead Minister in the Executive role through the Ends and Limitations, aspects of which are monitored monthly by the Board as a whole.

A Ministerial Review Task Force was appointed last year to recommend a model for annual review of the Lead Minister’s ministerial roles.

The Task Force concluded that “developing this review process underscored… the size and complexity of the lead minister role in a large congregation” and recommended a cyclical rotation of focus on ministerial roles outlined in the Letter of Call:

Year A:  Shared Leadership, Services to Board and committees, and relationship to staff

Year B:  Pulpit and Worship services, and services to persons

Year C:  Community activities

The Board accepted the Task Force’s report with gratitude to Melissa Davis, Chair, and members, Shel Altschul, Wendy Seligmann, and Dale Wachowiak.

Lead Minister Review Task Force will be a standing task force reporting to the Board and comprised of six members of the Congregation: two appointed by the Lead Minister and four by the Board, at least two of whom will be Trustees. Members will serve staggered three year terms. 

Sermon: Having Enough (text & audio)

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister
What is enough? It’s one of the more subtle and challenging spiritual questions. As we start the new year, we’ll reflect on some of the ways that we might sort through all the tugs on our life and find peace.


It may just be a time-of-life kind of thing, but I’ve been feeling an impulse to shed in recent years. Things I’ve been carrying around for years I take a second look at and think to myself, “Do I really need to keep that?” And more often than not, when I’m really being honest with myself, the answer is, “No.” And so, out it goes.

The turning of the New Year is a great time to do this. Clothes, gadgets, even books: toss, toss, toss. It becomes a spiritual exercise of sorts. I make peace with bits and pieces of my past that I no longer need to hold onto so tightly: fascinations, avocations that seemed so interesting for a time that I realize no longer hold my interest. And that’s OK.

By paring down my possessions I remove distractions and make it easier to focus on what matters in my life. What was it that Henry David Thoreau said was the key to a more peaceful, centered way of living? Simplify, simplify, simplify!

In one way or another, the question that we are asking in the midst of such sorting is, What is enough? It’s a question with deep roots. For it touches existential aspects of our identity. For example, I own a good number of books. And while some mean a great deal to me, many I hold onto because they have utility. In my line of work I am dipping into many sources, and it’s helpful to have them ready to hand. Indeed, part of the professional expenses that you provide me goes toward adding to that collection.

Some of these are valued resources that I’ll keep, but others I’m ready to pass on once I’ve read and made use of them. It’s a discipline for me to think carefully about what I want from each book and why. Am I holding onto that book because I foresee using it, or because somehow I feel it’s the sort of book that “someone like me” should own? Is it some kind of badge of my identity?

It’s easy to get tangled into this kind of knot, and we can do it with all kinds of things, not just books. How often do we look to physical objects as proxies of our identities? Clothes, cars, homes, technologies? There’s a dance we do with the things we own, and for the sake of our own peace of mind we want to be sure that we, not they, are calling the tune.

Because, otherwise there is something unhealthy driving our lives. Rather than true needs, these things feed our appetites – appetites for approval, for status, for pleasure. When pleasure’s in the driver’s seat, singing its siren song, it skews how we relate to the rest of the world, and it makes it hard for us to talk about “enough.”

You recall those experiments from the 1950s when scientists implanted electrodes in the brains of rats that enabled them to stimulate their pleasure centers. The rats would ignore food and keeping pressing the lever to the point of exhaustion. After a holiday season when you may have found yourself pressing that pleasure lever a few more times than was good for you, I thought it might be helpful for us to reflect on some useful ways of thinking about enough.

Now, I’m betting that at this point as you reflect on whatever your own holiday excesses may have been you’ve already been through the drill that anyone raised in this culture learns at an early age: You have spent some time beating yourself up.

“Oh, no! I did it again.” “I was bad; I need to be good.”

The great American guilt trip. We’ve all been there, and we all know a bit about how ineffective it tends to be. So, in the hope of finding a better strategy to grapple with all this, let me invite you to consider a different way of reflecting on this notion of “enough.”

I begin with a big word that you may not have heard before: sophrosyne. How about that? It’s spelled “s-o-p-h,” as in sophomore, “r-o-s-y-n-e.” SoPHROsyne. It is one of the Greek virtues and is a word without a precise translation into English. Essentially, it implies what is called a “healthy-minded” approach to life: balance, moderation.

It is centered on the idea that we can find joy in discovering what is good for ourselves. Pleasure, of course, is part of it, but only part. We can get pleasure, for example, from eating a delicious meal, but part of our enjoyment of that meal comes with ending it when our bodies tell us we are full. The pleasure we get from eating is diminished when we eat to excess. The indigestion, increased weight and all the rest bring our bodies distress.

It’s not a matter of self-denial. We don’t deny ourselves when we end the meal. Rather, we reach a balanced, harmonious place where we feel that we have consumed “enough.” To find that place, though, takes some attention. So, instead of roaring through the meal as fast as we can, when we take our time we recognize the feeling of satisfaction without excess.

From this perspective, there’s nothing especially satisfying about overindulging. There comes a point, for example, as we tuck into that second pint of ice cream that we are no longer feeding our physical need. We are, instead, feeding unhealthy hungers – say, an desiure to draw attention to ourselves, to impress others, to seek their acceptance, or to pacify our own unhappiness or disappointment.

An important dimension of sophrosyne is that it is not a practice of enforced discipline against our wishes. It begins with the assumption that harmonious living is a natural state, what is best for our minds and bodies, how we are naturally inclined.

But it’s not always easy to learn and it can take time. And so the ancient Greeks argued that people adopt an attitude of humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness in going about their lives. We are better able to appreciate others since we are living from a joyful appreciation of who we are. And in time we come to know ourselves as well as those around us more fully.

Our joy, in the end, is bound up with the joy of others and the joy of the community as a whole. Somehow, though, we seem to have the notion marbled into our culture that another person’s joy comes at our expense. We organize our lives to protect our own prerogatives and hold others at bay so we can get while the getting is good.

Wendell Berry’s “Vision” that you heard James read earlier emerged from his experience of many years as a farmer in Kentucky. Berry has long been an advocate for what he calls the “localist” point of view. It comes from the perspective of a farmer who measures the state of the world by the state of the earth. And what troubles Berry is how so much of our current economy has lost touch with the Earth. The kind of factory-level farming that predominates in America, he says, degrades the soil, poisons waterways, endangers wildlife, and promotes patterns of development that are unsustainable. Yet, it is outside the purview of most people, for whom food appears at the table from sources they know nothing about.

This disconnect, he argues, endangers the health of our communities and serves to drive us apart from one another. The corrective he recommends is that we all learn to live, as he puts it, “closer to the ground.” This means not only that we get in closer touch with how and where our food is grown and produced, but that we also get into closer touch with each other.

It is, of course, a challenge in our busy lives, but it is also true that our busyness is part of the problem. We take on work or activities in excess of what we can reasonably achieve and maintain our health and balance.

We organize our lives for efficiency, what the writer Gerald May calls, “the ‘how’ of life,” how we get things done and survive from day to day. But we fail to make room for what May calls the “why” of life. And that, he says, is love, or as he puts it “why we are functioning at all, what we want to be efficient for.”

If it’s true, as Thoreau says, that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,” it is likely because they have lost track of their “why.” We need to get back to the ground, to be grounded in who we are and the joy of knowing that.

So, when we turn to Wendell Berry’s poem we can see that it is – in essence – a hymn to sophrosyne, to the joy of finding balance and in it a recipe for enough.

The image that he paints of our lives enriching the Earth, rather than depleting it is not, as he says, “a paradisal dream.” It is instead a vision of us living in balance and harmony that is natural to the Earth – to the fields, the rivers, the forests, the mountains. It is a way for us to find closer harmony among ourselves as creatures of this planet in tune with the music that rises from it, which brings with it abundant health and wisdom. So, that we might come to see ourselves in this sleepy backwater of the universe as guests at the district fireman’s ball, dancing to the beat of the local oompah band.

Some years ago there was a poem bouncing around the Internet that made Berry’s point in a different way. It was called, “A Lost Generation,” written by Jonathan Reed. In a YouTube version, a young woman’s voice read:

I am part of a lost generation
And I refuse to believe
I can change the world.
I realize this may be a chock bu
“Happiness comes from within”
Is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy”
So in 30 years I will tell my children
They are not the most important thing in my life.
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
Work is more important than family
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
But this will not be true in my era
This is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
30 years from now I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in the country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm.
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth.
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope
And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it. 

There is hope
It is foolish to presume that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It will be evident that
My pooers and I care about this earth.
No longer can it be said that
Environmental destruction will be the norm.
In the future
I will live in the country of my own making
I do not concede that
30 years from now I will be celebration the 10th anniversary of my divorce
Experts tell me
This is a quick fix society
But this will not be true in my era
Families stayed together once upon a time
I tell you this
Work is more important than family
I have my priorities straight because
My employer will know that
They are not the most important thing in my life
So, in 30 years I will tell my children
“Money will make my happy:”
Is a lie, and
“Happiness comes from within”
I realize this may be a shock but
I can change the world
And I refuse to believe
I am part of a lost generation.

And neither are any of us.

Friends I wish you well in your New Year’s shedding. Along with the clutter, why not toss out a few other outmoded things that may be lying around, like disillusionment, cynicism, pointless guilt, or despair.

Instead, find joy coming to know the good, coming to know your community, coming to know yourself.