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The Wisdom of Our Wounds

In November, I read two books about migration. And this week, as I am reading The Little Prince, I remembered that the prince left his planet by tethering himself to migratory birds. This idea of migration was veiled in mystery until the last decades. In the 17th century, scientist Dr. Charles Morton, who is well known for writing a physics textbook, also published a treatise on his theory of migration. The birds were simply flying to the moon. Migration was cloaked in mystery.

In the spring of 1822, German villagers discovered a white stork with a large spear impaled in its chest. Determining that the wood of this spear came from Africa was groundbreaking evidence of the stork’s migratory journey. The bird was given the name “Pfeilstorch” or “arrow stork.”

As I sat with you, I have heard about the difficult and happy times of your lives. And from the pulpit, I have shared with you some of the stories of my life. Together, we have been making sense of who we are and where we have been. I believe that one of the blessings of being a part of a faith community is this sharing of stories.

In seminary, I was taught that one of the purposes of a worship service was to weave our stories together and to weave all of our stories into a larger narrative of the universe or the interconnected web of life. We do this together during “Joys and Sorrows” and on Christmas Eve we enact a tradition of telling the stories of when we received the kindness of strangers. It fills me with hope that we have not yet run out of stories. Please contact me if you have a story for this Christmas Eve!

In my sermon about changing my mind, I recounted a difficult time in my life when I was in Los Angeles and discovered feminism through Sisterhood Bookstore. I told you the wonderful part of finding answers to questions that had stirred within me for years. These answers opened my mind to possibilities and led me to leave a marriage and the religion of my ancestors. Only a few months later, Mary Lou

and I were on a plane to Japan.

I wonder if people noticed the spear that was piercing my side? I was told not to speak of the past and it was only after being there for a decade that I began to talk with dear friends about the hard parts of my life. That was partly due to finally feeling truly comfortable with the language and culture. This sharing deepened our friendships and wove us into the fabric of one another’s lives.

I feel that happens when people speak of 12-step programs that they attend and other challenges that they have overcome or are in the process of overcoming. We learn as the scientists learned from the arrow stork, the mystery of people’s life journeys.

What wisdom have you learned from people around you? What is the wisdom that you bring?

I look forward to more of that holy time of storytelling during our services. I hope to see you on Christmas Eve.


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