Monday, July 10, 2006

Network healing and adaptability

Yesterday the Italians won the World Cup, but the bigger story is the exuberant return of German patriotism.

I am not old enough to remember the Third Reich or the rise of the Iron Curtain, but I was just graduating from college when the Berlin wall came down. What a happy day that was. Today seems like an even happier day for the Germans -- while the rest of us get to be happy for them. Congratulations!

Germany's recovery comes well-timed to keep my spirits up when a community dear to my heart has just taken a bit of a beating.

Several years ago, after a long period of searching and reflection, I joined a Unitarian Universalist church. My growth from cross-armed skeptic to active community member is one of the great healing gifts of my life, a gift I received thanks to three people in particular -- Thomas Mikelson, Chris Bell, and Rita Butterfield.

In the past month, I have bid farewell to all three of these champion network weavers. Thomas retired in June after 17 years of leading our church. That same weekend, our congregation ordained Chris -- one of our long-time members, and a recent divinity school graduate. Now Chris is taking his immense talents and his wife Rita to Santa Rosa, CA, where he will lead his own church. Yesterday I saw Chris and Rita for the last time.

Farewell, Thomas, Chris and Rita! We will not be the same without you.

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