May 2022 Minister’s Musings, Reverend Leslie Kee

As I’ve been revisiting our transcendentalist roots, it occurred to me those small groups of women and men living in the Boston/New England area in the years following the revolutionary war, were around the same age as my children are now – maybe even younger! I remember the decade of my twenties and the idealism and passion which carried me into my thirties. It was an exciting time when it felt like someone turned on all the light bulbs in my brain! When you look through history, even now at the faces and voices of the Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and Greta Thunberg’s environmental movement, change is always fueled by young adults.

And so it is, those of us who are embracing the wisdom that accumulates while we travel through the later decades of our life, are compelled to remember how those heady decades of idealism, passion, and optimism felt because change is fickle. On one hand, it is a predictable as the rising and setting of the sun. On the other, it can be overwhelming and out of control. And yet, it can be welcomed and refreshing, like a summer rain shower.

It seems to me, the trick is how to interact with change in ways that are invigorating, yet assuring; that are intentional, yet flexible. I’ve always liked the image of a beaver and its dam. Somehow, the beaver just knows a good place to build its dam, what trees to chomp down, how to weave the structure so it’s not too tight and not too loose. And when it’s completed, there is a lovely dam with just the right amount of water flowing through the woven branches to keep the pond from stagnating and dying, while moderating the flowing current so it isn’t too strong to overwhelm the new ecosystem where the beaver family will live and thrive.

Today, UUs around the country are finding themselves emerging from the past two years of ‘covid-craziness’ and taking stock. Perhaps we are like the beavers who are emerging from a long winter’s hibernation and taking stock of their environment. What are physical and material conditions of their home? What is the state of their family relationships? What important questions need to be asked and addressed? Not that I’m saying we at UUCasper are a bunch of beavers, but yet again, there are some amazing similarities between us and where we find ourselves today as a religious and spiritual community.

I have never purported to have all the answers to life’s questions, but there is one thing I do know: change is a fact of life and, like the beavers, we can accept it, figure out how to interact with it, and always remember: we are only stewards of those gifts we have been blessed with in this life, especially our church. For me, it is one of life’s great pleasures to find ways to work together to create a safe, nurturing, beautiful (UU) environment for the purpose of ministering to and with each other. And, not only do we have beavers to inspire us, we have our transcendentalist ancestors who probably learned from the beavers too! See you in church!