Human love is not enough. I guess that is a faith statement. Perhaps it sounds like blasphemy to you, but it took me a long time to arrive there, so hear me out.

I was raised Unitarian Universalist in a family that did not pray. When friends hurt me or were not there for me, I did not know where to turn for solace. As I grew older, I did not know how to put the rug back under my feet when it was pulled out due to the death of a loved one, broken dreams, or disillusionment. When no one is home, no matter how many doors we knock upon or phone numbers we ring, where is love?

When I was grieving after my mother’s death and my best friend’s death and my grandmother’s death (in that order), I remember asking my great-aunt Ella what she did when she was in emotional pain and despair. She said, “I know your family doesn’t do this, but I pray.” A light bulb went on. I realized that I was not sufficient. I was not enough to conquer my grief, nor were those who loved me. There had to be something more and I needed to cast myself upon its mercy, upon its liberating love. I needed to find a way to connect with something larger than myself and what I needed from other humans.

I’m not advocating giving away our human power to love each other and humanity into liberation. I’m not advocating relinquishing our individual agency. I’m offering a suggestion, as it was offered to me, that when we reach our limit of being able to solve problems, heal wounds, and create specific change, we could ‘turn it over’ – to the universal energy of love, to nature, to god, goddess or other divine entities, to something that is larger than us, the spirit of life moving through all beings.

Atheists, agnostics, humanists can ‘pray’ by admitting that the power to save the world is not entirely up to us as individuals. We need other people, other ideas, Earth’s elements and creatures, and the mystery of what we do not know or control.

My new year’s resolution is to ‘pray’ more often, whatever that means. To admit my limits and accept help from beyond the edges of my skin.

Rev. Dena McPhetres, Associate Minister

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