Plant and Rain

Finally, summer!

Summer is such an easy time to bask in the beauty of the natural world, a season when Milwaukeeans spend as much time as possible outdoors, a time when everyone should be happy.

Yet, there is always someone who has suffered a loss and is grieving, someone who hesitates or is just unable to join in the celebration of summer. Let’s keep an eye and an ear out for those who are in a grieving process. They may need our love and attention even more than usual when life seems beautiful to everyone else.

I know there are many people in our congregation who are grieving significant losses of loved ones. The sorrow does not go away overnight.

To you, I want to say that beauty heals and it’s okay to let the beauty of the world bless your eyes, anoint your hands and wash over your body and spirit. Allowing beauty to heal you does not diminish your loyalty to and memory of your loved one. It’s okay to be sad and notice beauty at the same time.

The following words by Mark Nepo may speak to your reality.


Everything is beautiful and I am so sad. This is how the heart makes a duet of wonder and grief. The light spraying through the lace of the fern is as delicate as the fibers of memory forming their web around the knot in my throat. The breeze makes the birds move from branch to branch as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost in the next room, in the next song, in the laughter of the next stranger. In the very center, under it all, what we have that no one can take away and all that we’ve lost face each other.

It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured by a holiness that exists inside everything. I am so sad and everything is beautiful.

– Mark Nepo

Mark Nepo is a poet, teacher, and storyteller, author of twenty books, including the recent The Book of Awakening, a spiritual daybook.


The First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee is a progressive church for spiritual community, social justice, and intellectual freedom. Visit us for Sunday services, forums, religious education for children & youth, and other programs and social activities. Visitors to First Church are always welcome! Join us for coffee and conversation in the Common Room following each service.

The July theme is “What Does It Mean To Be a People of Beauty?” Here is a list of July Sunday Services at First Church that explore that concept in a variety of ways.

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