June has been the month to express gratitude.  As the final school bus passed my house on a recent June afternoon, I silently thanked the teachers who made me…those teachers who made me think, who pushed me to do better than I thought I could, who showed kindness to me during the hard times of my childhood.  I thanked the parents who made sure that I went to school everyday, tired or hungry…no excuses…and held me responsible for homework and good grades. It feels good to be old enough to finally appreciate all those folks.

At the grand finale of the June 4th business meeting, UU Asheville thanked the many members who have served the congregation this year. It was a long ceremony of gratitude and it could have gone longer. Acknowledging service to our UU community is important. A lot of hard work (from finding an outstanding new minister to brewing the coffee) was recognized because all service, large or small, is important in the big picture.

Ted Lasso (for those of you who may not waste time streaming/watching sitcoms as I do) is a feel good show about a soccer coach who moves to England and doesn’t know much about soccer or how to navigate new social contexts.  He doesn’t even drink tea. But he does know how to build connections between his team, his staff, and total strangers by small acts of kindness and daily appreciation. When someone does or says something helpful, Ted says “I appreciate you” instead of “I appreciate it.” He emphasizes the message that we should appreciate the people in our lives more than the things they do for us. It’s a small semantic difference but an important one if you are one being appreciated.

If the month of June reminds us to recognize those people who contribute to the betterment of us all, then I’d like to be more like Ted Lasso. As I leave the Board of Trustees after three years of service, I appreciate the board members who were patient, who helped and encouraged me when I was struggling to learn the ropes.  I appreciate Rev. Cathy Harrington and the UU congregants who showed me kindness during the 2022 death of my husband.  I appreciate the UU staff who work so hard behind the scenes and who make the Sunday service look easy. I appreciate the person who smiles at me on Sunday morning for no good reason and gives me hope that the world is still a good place. I appreciate you if you have finished reading this and I hope you will appreciate all the people in your life who make it worth getting up for in the morning. And most of all I hope you appreciate you.

Karen Dill, UU Asheville Board of Trustees, Outgoing