This Sunday we gathered to tell the story of the Unitarian Universalist ritual to celebrate and welcome babies into our community.
It was also the first Sunday that I got to try on the door teacher role. You have to know that I have been longing to sit at the door since I learned more about the philosophy underpinning it’s role; a loving witness. I value and honor the intention to physically embody the energy of threshold, safety and love that the door teacher assumes each week. I think it is vital that there are eyes there, simply and powerfully to see and celebrate the presence of everyone in the room.
And then there’s the practice. For any of you who have tried out meditation, you have likely had the familiar experience of making time to sit down and…your mind starts racing, you forget what you’re doing, you try to be calm and centered and the quiet itself seems to incite the inner life into an explosion of things to think, feel and do. And all you were trying to do was sit quietly and peacefully for a few minutes. It’s way harder than it appears. And it’s part of the process of meditation to sit in the midst of that and try to simply come back, remember and breathe.
So I sat at the door for class and felt myself losing my focus….thinking about how I would tell the story this year if I was on the rug, wondering if I had forgotten anything as I signed folks in, musing about how I would change or re-write this story to make it more compelling for the children. Oops. And then I would come back and breathe and observe without the interpretive overlay. And then I would lose focus…should I stop the child moving back and forth from the door to the rug to the door again? Should I put my hand on her shoulder? Should I ask her to just sit still till the story begins? Is anyone distracted by her movement? Oops.
Over and over in class this process happened and over and over I simply came back and tried again. In this story, the Storytelling teacher blesses all the children and we welcome them by name. The text of the story indicates the teacher should start with herself and then move around the room. The teacher started blessing the children and my mind lost focus once more. I wanted everyone to be blessed, everyone to be included. Refocus. In the present moment I simply observed again. The children received their blessing and a rose, and then the teachers, and then the Storyteller received the blessing we all gave her. Everyone had been included. It had just happened in a different way than I imagined. I almost missed it by holding too fast to my own expectations. And, after all, what is the return to each moment? It’s a return to new life the one right here in front of us that is happening and changing with such unexpected complexity and beauty.
And I too was included. My name was recognized. I was welcomed into the circle of our community, with all my distraction and all my attempts to come back to witness. Even so, I am a part of it all, no perfection required. We all are. That’s truly something to celebrate.