Posts Tagged ‘Unitarian Universalists’

‘The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding’, Part 3

August 29, 2011

Getting tired of this title?  WOOF!

Well, perhaps I can finally use this quote  closer  to its meaning.

We went to the Unitarian Universalists Congregation this morning. We have been one other time, about a month ago, and were really moved by the service. It was on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War: not blue, not gray, but a musical tribute to all who suffered and died.  Perhaps only the UUs could  walk this path between the North and the South.  And it wasn’t about Slavery, either.  It was about humanity embroiled in a conflict that is still shaking our nation today.

But this morning was of a very different theme.  I didn’t check, because I wasn’t sure we were going to make it.  Both husband and I were snarly the day before, and putting aside our insults and hurt feelings  was almost asking too much:  it seemed  a lot of effort to go and sit amongst strangers.

We are glad we made the effort.  It was the annual “Blessing of the Animals” service and the place was full of dogs, cats, a Japanese fighting fish in a tupperware bowl, and a rooster.

Music holds a lot of weight with the UUs, and this service was no exception.  “Puff The Magic Dragon”, “Waltzing With Bears”, “Home On The Range”, “I Wanna be a Dog”, “Spirit of Life” and “All Creatures of the Earth and Sky” pretty much rounded out the musical offering.

Actually, it was a LOT of fun, and really very moving.  I think it took suspending the ego for many of us:  “Waltzing With Bears” was hilarious and “Home On the Range”, projected on a large screen overhead brought both us to tears.  Ok, it brought me to tears, the Great Stone Face doesn’t cry much (any) in public.  The lyrics are tender and moving, something we forget about  this song, yet there on the screen, with a background of incredible Western beauty, well,  it was something that stirred us both.

There were fewer cats there than I would have liked, and those  there crated, poor pussies.  Some dogs howled during certain songs, especially on the refrains, and the Rooster?…well, he crowed in all the right places.  I thought  maybe someone had a very good recording of a rooster and were playing tricks, but I was assured by the lovely woman next to me “the rooster was here for the blessing last year.”

There were no dog fights, just a few overly friendly attempts to make friends, and a couple of half-hearted snarls. Watching the dogs was a treat.  A young German Shepherd was the model of discipline, sitting or asleep quietly at his owner’s feet, the numerous Standard Poodles– an elegant addition to the morning, the beagles, as beagles do, fell asleep, the Goldens looked happy, eager to please, the pugs looked…..bored.  We were amazed how well behaved our canine (can’t say anything about the fish) friends were in such a potentially stressful environment.

We were thinking of what dog we could have brought (the cats  are atheists). Gally, the big Shepherd/Hound mook at 80 lbs is well trained to sit and lie down, but this would have been too much temptation.  Merlin, the mostly- Golden, is fiercely protective and growls and might snap. Laddie the almost- cocker is totally deaf, so he has this piercing bark:  He would start a riot with his alarm.  We realized  the only dog we could have brought was our Sparky, our English Field Spaniel, who died of cancer June 20th this year.  He was a gentleman, such a good example of his rare and intelligent breed, but he was planted out in the front garden under an old boxwood.  His loss to us, especially this morning, brought me to tears.

This is such a different entry…considering the last two other “The Peace…” offerings…but this morning the Blessing of the Animals went exactly where it should have gone: straight to our hearts, opening a pathway to memories and further compassion.  I also got a good tip on a Standard Poodle breeder not far from our home.  My husband is groaning, and puffing on his inhaler but there is no better balm to grief, (and my grief in losing Sparky so suddenly went deep) than another animal to wrap your arms around. 

Of course some would call me a hoarder: 12 (kittens, thrown over the fence at various times) and then cats who have been with us  for  15 years, they are not just cats…they are treasured members of our family.  My dear husband’s nose hasn’t stopped dripping for 26 years but his shots are helping nicely here.

Today was a wonderful example of compassion, charity and love. Seeing the care  people expressed with their animals, and seeing the pianist with his pug in his lap while he played, well, it was a lovely morning.

Even unto the least, which I guess would have been the goldfish in tupperware, the message was loud and clear.  Extending our love to other species is natural and good: we aren’t the only ones who live on this Earth.

We are enjoined in love. Or should be.


Lady Nyo

“The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding”….

August 20, 2011

To readers of this blog from the DoNMs website: I can no longer support that site in good conscience.  Details aren’t that important or that interesting, nor do I know much of  anything, except there seems to be a nasty dogfight between different websites that are concerned with the very same issues that we should be all united around: the effects of NMs on our lives.  Personalities, Ego, Competition, flaming, etc…are not the stuff of healthy dialogue about these important issues. Life is TOO good to be involved in what seems to be narcissistic behavior by the very people who should know better.  Who are looked to by others as leaders.

I just don’t have time for stupid bullshit, and I don’t think people who take these issues seriously do either.

However, I appreciate the readers from those different websites here, and you will never be turned away or told you don’t have the right to post your opinions here, whether it is of your religious, political or any other personal values you hold dear.

Lady Nyo


People come across this quote from Isaiah in the Bible.   I am not applying this quote in a religious sense.

Recently, my husband, son and I decided to make a radical rupture with a particular part of our family.  Over the years, too many years, there has been a lot of issues, in particular with one member.  The excuse of the behavior of this person can’t be laid on the doorstep of  years, which are many, but  in something more troubling.  Some people came in for a lot of insults, belittling behavior, forms of abuse and just…well, pure hatred.  Some people were held in esteem (few) and many were trashed.  It really depended upon the whims of this person, and it changed like the weather.

When we are children, we have few options. When we are adults, we have choices.  To continue to hope  a person will stop their abuse is rather naive.  Some people are driven by things  others of us don’t understand.  Perhaps they  are driven by jealousy, illusions about their importance in the world, competition, and other strange things.  Sometimes family members who surround such a person feed this narcissism because they don’t have the stones to walk away. Some use their religion to excuse what they do.

 John has an answer to this:  “When you see evil, you walk away.” 

 In my estimation, evil isn’t something with horns and a forked tail: it’s the conscious abuse of people who are vulnerable or just available.   It’s the pointed abuse of children, adults,  and after years of this behavior, it is more than ‘abuse’….it becomes a conscious evil.  It can become random, without thought by the abuser, and these people know the effects.  They take a  delight in what they have done to another.  With some people, they just see others as prey.

It took me a long time and some pretty intense therapy, but I realized  I was deeply afraid of this person.  There was no trust: this person’s behavior did not inspire trust or comfort.  This person inspired self-doubt, undercut positive things I and others had done.  Why have someone like this in your life?  They may be an important fixture in the family of origin, but living like this, never being able to trust the behavior of this person from one day to the next…well, this is hell.  And my little family decided we didn’t deserve this hell.

There are certainly ‘benefits’ for those who surround the main irritant:  by being ‘yes men and women’ to these disturbed people, by keeping their heads down, they don’t become the targets of these people.  But this is really a sort of slavery.  (and you can’t really trust this main irritant. Given time, the target changes)

Our little family, with the support of others, in particular our family counsellor and what was to become a new spiritual ‘home’ decided we could do better.

But why stop there?  We also decided to clean our lives of people who really weren’t on a positive track: this was hard because we want to give the benefit to all people and not act like the ‘main irritant’, (‘loved ones’ were disposable) but we also knew  a lot more was at stake.  The ‘health’ of our little family was our priority.

We decided to start attending the Unitarian Universalist congregation here in Atlanta.  I was nudged repeatedly by some good people before, but just didn’t think we would ever find a place where we were comfortable with the dogma of religion.  We wanted to protect our ‘religious intellectualism’, we wanted no creeds, no signing on the bottom line.  We wanted to sit a spell and feel a gathering spiritual energy and see if it permeated our own hearts.

So, these past few months have been a heady sort of change:  making that rupture with family who are abusive and finding a spiritual place where we can investigate questions, beliefs, and see how they hold water, where we feel there is growth….

And, one of the best realities is this: the majority of the world is NORMAL. They function in normal, loving, compassionate ways. 

We have relaxed with the knowledge  we have escaped something depleting of dignity.   Constant walking on eggs, constant fear  whatever is said or done is taken in the wrong way. There was no win-win situation there. This is no way to live…and you have to sum up what is on the other side: is it something you want in your life? Or is it something you just have to endure until the abuser is gone?  We decided to make our escape now. It had gone on too long.

Well, this has become a time of “Peace that Surpasses All Understanding”.  It is a peace that we didn’t think possible, but we had to clear out the underbrush to see the possibilities.

Lady Nyo

I have always known

That at last I would

Take this road, but yesterday

I did not know that it would be today.

Narihira, 9th century Japanese poet

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