What does “home” mean to you?
For me, home is where I can exhale. I can relax. There is a certain level of feeling that here, I can be myself. And I have experienced that in some different places and circumstances.
One sort of odd place was in an airport in Rhode Island. I’d had an intense work week, and I went over to the gate where the plane would be to bring me back to Texas. There was an old man there, wearing a straw cowboy hat. Not unusual in Austin, but out of place in Rhode Island. And … I exhaled. I didn’t know this man, but it was the sight of something familiar and ordinary, and oddly specific about my home state. I really was going home, and to a certain extent, I was already with my people.
Another time, it was in Salt Lake City. I was there for the Parliament of World Religions, an amazing event. For several days, I was surrounded by religious people from all over the world. Monks in robes, priests, Sikhs in turbans…it was amazing. And one day I went to the exhibit hall and there was a table for the International Unitarian Universalists. And I exhaled. I loved all of the new experiences I was having, the things I was learning … and there was that feeling of relaxing, chatting with the people in the UU booth. I was home. I was with my people.
We could get into deep conversations about who “your people” are, and how it’s decided. But there’s also something simple about it, and about home. Over the years, I have heard many new members reference the idea, in terms of Live Oak. They say there was just something about Unitarian Universalism, or Live Oak in particular — they exhaled. They had found their people. They were home.
Whether you have never entered Live Oak before, or been coming for years, I hope I see you Sunday at our annual “Church Reunion” service. Whether you come every week, or have been away for a great while, I hope you’ll be here. I can’t wait to tell you, “Welcome HOME.”