Posted by: Tracy Barsamian Ventola | September 16, 2012

Miracle of Miracles: OFF KLTR Goes to Church!

Arlington UU Church

Well…I guess my title isn’t exactly accurate.  More like, OFF KT went to church!!  Rob opted out.  Someone had to watch Lauren and he was willing to take one for the team!!  So Keira and I went to the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church in town.  I grew up Catholic, so it’s a pretty steep jump from my childhood church!!  Now everyone has a different relationship with their faith and I know lots of Catholics who get a lot out of their religion.  But for me, going to church was an exercise in tolerance.  Tolerating the catechism which (even as an elementary-age school girl) just did not resonate with me.  Tolerating the boredom of mass.  And for some reason, our church had the absolute worst choir, so I even had to tolerate the choir.  Really, music could have been a bright point in the dismal hour for me.  But their voices were just not in harmony at the 10 o’clock mass in Townsend!  So going to a UU church today was a very different experience for me.  The readings were engaging.  The sermon was thought-provoking.  And the music was beautiful (but in fairness, I do think it’s unusual to have such disappointing music at a Catholic service).

And Keira went to Sunday school.  I walked her to her classroom.  She was nervous.  But, she went right in with the incredibly warm teacher.  I picked Keira up an hour later.  She didn’t say much ’til we hit Mass Ave – we can walk to church; how great is that?! – and then her face lit up and she said, “I liked it.  I wish it was longer.”  (I tried to imagine wishing that CCD could just have lasted a few more minutes?!  Hmm…the highlight of my CCD years was watching a VCR tape of the music video for Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.)  On the walk home, I would learn that Keira and her class, lit a candle and said a prayer.  Had a snack.  Did an art project and read a story.  She was MAD that she has to wait a week to go back!  And she demanded that we go every week!  Hard to say no to that.

The letter we received from the sunday school teacher today explained that “it is the goal of our RE (religious education) program to teach our children to respect and appreciate differences, to express their feelings constructively, to cooperate together to achieve common goal, and to honor and care for the earth.  In doing so we believe we are taking a giant step in the direction of a peaceful and just world.”  What more could a parent ask for their child?

And, I took away a nugget with me, too.  The minister asked something to the effect of — with your loved ones, are you slow to anger and quick to forgive?  Hmm…I have been falling down on this one.  I have been so impatient this week.  SO impatient.  We’re all tired, getting back into the swing of school.  But I am the mother.  I set the tone for our home.  It’s my responsibility to be an example of patience and love.  And so, my mantra from here on out is, “May I be slow to anger and quick to forgive”.  I am going to have to be quite patient with MYSELF as I work towards this goal, I think!!

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Responses

  1. Very nice! I like the nugget. I’m going to steal it for myself this week. And I”m glad you saved me from having to go to church to get it. 😉 We used to go to the UU in Harvard Sq. It’s the only kind of church I can tolerate and it can be quite lovely. I’ll have to check out Arlington sometime. Thanks for sharing and I’ll see you Tuesday!

    • What a great idea! You can stay snug at home on Sunday mornings and I’ll send you the cliff-notes version of the service! Maybe it can be a new blog – Spirituality for the rest of us busy people!! Strangely, in the Sunday school Kindergarten class there were only 5 girls, no boys! What is the boy shortage in our kids’ year?! See you tomorrow!!

  2. THANK YOU so much for sharing! I have been searching for clarity on this very subject and it looks like I am blessed to have you as my messenger this week– how fun;o) On this very topic, anger and forgiveness, I recently came across a quote from Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is the scent of the violet on the heal that crushes it.” Hoping both of us find peace as we try and make sense of this powerful and, sometimes, destructive emotion. Sending love to you and the family!!

    • Who’s messing with you, Andrea?! My mantra applies only to my children!! I have no patience for people who are mean to my dear friends!! It is amazing though how the universe sends us little nuggets (in the most unusual ways) just when we need them, isn’t it?!

  3. Glad you guys enjoyed your Sunday. I love the UUs. I mean, they take summers off! And it sounds like all the messages were helpful and meshed well with your sensibilities. I might be inspired to check out the Mountain View chapter! Hope all’s well in Arlington. xoxo

    • I know, summer’s off is KEY!! And if you check out your local UU church and like it, I am willing to lend you Keira for a few weeks to demand that she go to Sunday school, thereby forcing you out of bed/the couch/your house on Sunday mornings!! Just to get you into the routine (wink-wink).

  4. Wonderful messages – nice to hear that it seemed to resonate with you. (: It really is nice to have a spiritual lift each week (even if it feels like I’m too busy to squeeze it in, I’m always glad I do)!

    • So true! It can feel hard to make the time!! But boy does it help in the end!! The UU Church only has religious education classes on certain Sundays, so I have very lazily taken the non-religous ed weeks off and I am missing it. Keira is, too. NEXT WEEK classes resume 🙂


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