I can’t speak of risk without being in awe of so many people who risk personal safety for justice and the greater good. When my family watched the movie Selma about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. I remember the comment that my daughter made as the credits rolled. She said, “I just hope that I would have been one of the people who risked so much to be on the right side.” Our faith is full of many risk takers who were bound and determined to bring justice and the further light of truth into the world despite personal risk; Hosea Ballou, Mary Augusta Stafford, Theodore Parker, the Iowa sisterhood… and the list goes on. We still have the opportunity to be that kind of people today.
As I prepare to offer a parenting class in March at UUCB (based on Brene Brown’s ”The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting.”) I‘ve been thinking a lot about being vulnerable and daring to risk and how we can instill these values in ourselves and our children. Whenever I teeter between wanting to do something and feeling afraid of the unknown, I think of the words of Helen Keller, who said: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Theodore Roosevelt said something very similar: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even thou checked by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in that gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” I think we all have some experience in that gray twilight, and none of us aspire to spend more time there. This uncertain world makes risk taking a requirement for living a full life. That’s the thing. We can’t really avoid risk because if we don’t risk anything, then we risk everything – the very quality of our lives.
One simple daily practice of being vulnerable and taking risks is challenging oneself not to hide from emotions-whether negative or positive- but instead to face the discomfort they can bring, at least long enough to allow these emotions to instruct us. When I shared this endeavor with my son he wrote me out a quote that he values and one that really made me think. It is by Bashar and says, “How can you be afraid to feel? Isn’t fear a feeling? If you’re feeling fear, you’ve felt one of the most negative emotions there is to feel. Everything else should be a piece of cake. Feel good, feel happy, feel loved, feel abundant, feel creative, feel compassionate, feel knowledge, feel powerful.” It is a good practice to step out from fear and recognize that it is only one among all kinds of other emotions. When we dare to feel our whole range of emotions we risk vulnerability but we open ourselves up to the full magnitude of our lives.
Janen Wright, Director of Faith Formation
A quick look at what is coming up in March:
March 1st and 15th— Middle and High School Dungeons and Dragons with Justin
March 3-4 District Middle School Retreat at UUCB!
March 10-12 OWL training in Colorado Springs (contact Janen Wright if you are interested in getting certified to teach)
March 12- Guest Speaker from the Islamic Center for Middle and High School classes
March 17 St. Patrick’s Day and High School Nite at UUCB (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
March 22 Middle School Nite at UUCB (6:00-8:00 p.m.)
March 27-31 Spring Break for Boulder Valley and St. Vrain school districts
March 31st-April 2nd– Bridging Conference at Foothills