I was, I am, I will be

On January 26th, we had a special Sunday service, our own Dr. Chris Basgier, Acting Director of University Writing at Auburn University, helped us examine how writing can be a way of connecting us to ways of being more fully human. Chris asked us to respond to three prompts and then to share them aloud. At the time I am typing these on March 19th, in the midst of this COVID19 pandemic, when the streets are nearly empty, and likewise, many of the grocery store shelves, I am grateful for the opportunity to hear and type these words. For they remind me that I am forever grateful for this community, with its analytical, deep, thoughtful, humorous, kind, and generous people. We are needed more now than ever. 

The three prompts were: I was…. I am… I will be… 

1) I was always becoming, stumbling from a place of less understanding. I am perfectly ordinary, in all of its messy beauty. I will be awake. I will keep going. I will be kind in a world in which cruelty is ubiquitous. 

2) I was unprepared regarding how difficult learning to play the ukulele would be. I am practicing once like every day. I will be getting better each week because our teacher is encouraging. 

3) I was young, bright, energetic, confident – unaware of what I know now. —–the context I lived in was white, middle-class, and English. I am now retired, our children have grown up and left. I’m still facing the problem with my inner critic, despite a resume that includes 2 books and a lot more. “I was —– in my ignorance.” I will be dead soon, and most of my goals will not have been achieved. 

4) I was lost. I am here, found. I will be useful. 

5) I was married. I am a father and a teacher. I will be strong and resolute in the face of adversity. 

6) I was never going to get married and have children. I am a mom, wife, and now a grandma. I will be forever grateful that I’m not what I was. 

7) I was introduced to the concept of brainstorming years ago. I am torn as to whether I should be skeptical of brainstorming. I will be brainstorming in the shower, no doubt, but probably not in some organized way with others. 

8) I was free-spirited, adventurous, and fear-free, except for cockroaches and slippery slopes like ski slopes. I am analytical, goal-oriented and a critical thinker. I will be well-balanced (my wishful thinking.) 

9) I was someone who thought, as a child, that parents could do anything in the world, know everything, or if not, their prayers could do that. I am now a parent who knows that parents can’t do everything, and their prayers are just like everyone else’s. I will be telling my kids that when they’re/will be parents, they’ll understand what I’m saying/writing now. 

10) I was discouraged, fearful…when I walked in this door, remembering the horrors I have witnessed in my lifetime. I am together with those who believe in freedom, and who will push forward to save it, ever knowing this may be, for now, a lost cause. I will be fearless, in spite of what I know, and will bond with others to achieve a future (perhaps even a far future). 

11) I was raised in poverty and with a religion that focused on fear of hell, the idea that women and people of color are “less” and how terrible humans have and will always be. I am healthier and happier among the UU faith and healing with my current religious community. I will be certain to encourage my child to remain engaged with a positive community. 

12) I was thinking about asking Conar if he would be willing to accompany me on drums in the near future. I am bending my brain to come up with ideas to communicate. So is Janice! I will be glad when this exercise is completed. But I’ll bet that I will think of it many times in the future. 

13) I was afraid that the future/life I want would never come into existence. I am determined to achieve my short- and long-term goals. I will be preparing and planning to accomplish more detailed objectives, which will lead to more achievements in my long-term goals in life. 

14) I was asleep. I am awake. I will be tired again. I was tired. I am resting. I will be tired again. 

15) I was, when I was a young girl concerned that some people in other parts of the world did not have any paper to write on. This began my dedication to conservation. I am today still concerned that some people still do not have paper to write on. And save most every scrap of paper for most any purpose to reuse in some way. I will be continuing to do so at least with my art creations, and reuse of my used paper napkins. 

Submitted by Marcia Rossi on behalf of the AUUF after the service on January 26, 2020.