My son, Ethan, started his first job on Monday. It is a salaried position with benefits and everything!! I can barely stand myself!!! Has a mother ever been so proud!?!
Ahem. As I was saying…
Watching him take this first real step into adulthood makes me think back to when I got my first job. I was just out of college and had moved into my first real apartment. It was so freeing! I could arrange the furniture however I wanted. I, unlike when I lived at my parents’ house, didn’t feel it necessary to dust everything once a week. Or ever! I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. And I could decide how to spend (or not spend) my money. And I could stay up as late as I wanted without having to deal with “disapproving looks” from anyone. It was my first real taste of freedom and I loved it!
But then I also learned all about the flip side of freedom: responsibility. When I didn’t go to the grocery store, there was no food in the house. When I forgot to pay the electric bill, the power got shut off. And when I didn’t feed the cat, it came and woke me in the middle of the night. And if I rolled over and attempted to ignore it, it woke me again and again and again until I got up and filled the stupid bowl with stupid kibble. There were so many things that I had taken for granted when I lived with my folks – things that had always just been done for me. But taking charge of my own life meant taking charge of all of it. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had some growing up to do.
I bring this up because I was also thinking about this after attending some leadership meetings at our church earlier this year. The Board of Trustees, the Executive Team, and the Revitalization Team met a number of times to talk about where we are, and where we are going as a church. We did an exercise where we reviewed everything that has gotten done in the past in church life. Believe me – it was quite a list!! There is a lot of excitement in leadership about the new direction of the church. Being lay-led means that we get to decide what messages come from the pulpit. We have the opportunity to let programs go that don’t serve us anymore and to start programs that we’ve always wanted to do. But it also means that if we don’t go to the grocery store, there isn’t any food. And I believe that we still have some growing to do as a congregation. Gone are the days of relying on someone else to make UUCE the church you want it to be. If you want something to happen, perhaps it’s time you stepped up and volunteered. I look to Mary Harlos as an example. She was missing attending adult RE, so she ran her idea past the Executive Team and started up some adult RE! She didn’t wait and hope that someone eventually got around to it. She had the idea and made it a reality. Imagine what our church will be like when we truly start embracing being a lay-led congregation – meaning that our congregants actually are our leaders!
Our annual meeting is this Sunday. It’s the time of year that we get together and set the course for the new year by adjusting bylaws, voting on the incoming Board, and voting on a budget. For some of us, this may feel a lot like dusting. And for many of us, it is getting to decide if the lamp really goes in the living room. Whichever camp you land in, please plan to attend. It’s your opportunity and also your responsibility to show up and make your voice heard. We are growing up together. And, just like I’m proud of Ethan starting out on his own, we can all be proud of ourselves as we chart the course of who we’re going to be in the coming church year. See you on-site or online on Sunday!
Sharon Fincher, Revitalization Team