Measured Extravagance

23 June 2003 - 9:51 a.m.

Word of the day: petrochemicat.

(Reflecting on my own menagerie: Bat pretty much limits herself to kibble and challah, with the occasional moth for a snack. The Abbygator, however, continues her chowhound ways, going after cherries and green beans and strawberry ice cream and tissues and cockroaches and probably a snake or three.)

Also from Shetterly's blog: "Emma and I went to the local Episcopalian Church today. They're great people; we'll continue to visit them. But their certainty about the nature of God and the appropriate worship of God made Emma realize how thoroughly she's a Unitarian Universalist. "

Coincidentally, I've found myself with similar thoughts this past week - once in reading a Pentecost sermon, and once in a conversation with an Episcopalian who was reminiscing about a UU memorial service she'd attended - she had found it strange and lacking comfort because there had been no mention of the afterlife. To which I felt compelled to point out that, if one doesn't believe in an afterlife, to speak of heaven isn't of comfort to the survivors. (Yes, people are well-intentioned, but it can take such an effort to remember that, especially after one has gone through a week of being triple-guessed in three languages about the tenor of and texts for a memorial service. Think of it as the equivalent of being told, "Oh, you'll be president of the company someday" when you can think of eight other lives you'd rather live than running the company - it's a flattering assumption on their part, but the assumption that everyone shares that vision of the future is in its way isolating and thus of no comfort.)

There's a fair number of UUs who do believe in some variation of an afterlife, I hasten to add. I've met quite a few who believe in ghosts and souls and resurrection of the body. My own condolence notes tend more to speak of the person that was or simply of sympathy rather than attempting to speak of the mystery of the next - even for believers, it would be false of me to offer assurances or speak of convictions I do not personally share.

Anyhow. I'm supposed to be somewhere else in ten minutes. You're alive, I'm alive, and I just cut an armful of dill, sage, oregano and thyme. It smells wonderful. It's a beautiful morning.

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