Monday, September 21, 2009

Water Communion

Yesterday at church, small vials of water collected from special places near and far by every church member were added to a communal water basin during the annual water communion. Collected from various waterways or the taps of summer places visited, this water was brought together to symbolize unity amongst the many different backgrounds and views that make up the UU church. As we sang over and celebrated water that was carefully collected from the Hudson River, Appalachian Mountains, a local stream on the church property, and many other places, I thought about the filtered tap water I had added to the collection, hurriedly gathered as I raced out the door that morning. Unlike other church members whom had a connection to the water they brought and had obviously put great thought into where their water was collected from, my contribution felt lame.

During the service, I was reminded of water and how much a part of my life it had been while living in Illinois. Collecting it as a precious resource in a rain barrel, helping to clean up the Fox River near my home, hiking around ponds in natural areas, and walking along Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. I had an appreciation for water there that seems to have somehow slipped away from me since moving here. Caught up in the museums of the city, the excitement of discovering New York City, I have somehow lost a part of myself that appreciated water and used it to help center me and make me feel calm.

Feeling this void, yesterday after church, my husband and I headed out to a park on Long Island Sound and walked along a path near the water. It was a beautiful day and I really tried to focus on the water of the Sound and the waves and the natural world around me. I have always wondered why being on the beach or near bodies of water soothe me. Today in church, the Reverend talked of water and its constancy. It is always there, waves coming in and out. She made me wonder if that is what appeals to me about water. As I thought about it though, I felt the constancy of water does play a part, but I also think it is something bigger than that but am not sure what. Maybe something about how large bodies of water make me feel small, and how water is much more powerful than me. That water is life giving and connects all living things. Maybe it is this connection and how it allows me to feel connected in an otherwise very disconnected world. Will have to think on it as I strive to spend more time near water.

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