Ten years ago today, on a perfect Vermont spring afternoon, with the blessings of two beloved congregations and family, mentors, and friends, I was ordained a minister. A spiritual practice of the past few weeks has been to reflect on what called me, what the past ten years have meant, what changes I’d make today in those vows. In the hectic weeks before we left for Mexico, I couldn’t find a copy of my ordination order of service, containing the vows themselves; Sean, who’s serving UUCPA in my place this spring, tried valiantly to find it in my office files but it must be in my home files. It doesn’t matter. I remember the gist, and as I remember them, they were as much vows for life in general as for the Unitarian Universalist ministry. We don’t take vows upon becoming human, but the kind of things I committed to do were the things I want to do with my whole life, not just in my service to our congregations or organizations: Cultivate love and wisdom in myself. Speak truth to power. Remember the holiness of every being and every moment. Pursue justice. Celebrate beauty. Help heal the world’s broken places. Act with kindness and patience. Tend my spirit.

The joint choirs of the Champlain Valley UU Society and the UU Church of Rutland sang “Blessed,” by Lui Collins. I knew then, and I know it even more now, how blessed I was to have found a vocation in which the job description lined up so neatly with “live well.” The tarnish of church politics, my own insecurity, overwork, confused priorities, daily routine, trees too crowded to allow much of a view of the forest–it all builds up, but life in church also provides countless polishing moments to clear it away. The next ten years will no doubt bring many changes, but fundamentally I’m still answering the same call. Unitarian Universalism, the three congregations I’ve served, and especially the hundreds of people who’ve touched my life through this work have my deep thanks.

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