Interdependent Web: The names of the dead are ghosts

Interdependent Web: The names of the dead are ghosts

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism.

Heather Christensen


The names of the dead are ghosts

Britton Gildersleeve writes about how difficult it is to delete from our phones the names of friends who have died.

[People] die.

And it takes YEARS before I can bring myself to ‘delete’ them. And yes, I realise they’ve already been ‘deleted.’ That their names, without phone reception beyond the grave, will never again respond to a call, to a note, to anything at all. I really do get all that.

Sort of. (Beginner’s Heart, October 28)

Bob Patrick shares wisdom about how to be present with those experiencing loss.

Sometimes we worry that we won’t know “the right thing to say” when we are around those in loss. The gathered wisdom of our community is that there is no such thing as “the right thing to say.” We can be present. We can really see the person in loss. We can reach out. We can ask questions. We can listen. We can share in storytelling. We really can be supportive and compassionate when loss appears in our community. (Words of Wisdom, October 27)

Alison Leigh Lilly offers a tongue-in-cheek guide to enjoying a death-free Samhain. (Nature’s Path, October 28)

It’s that time of year when the full harvest moon glows eerily through the skeletal trees and the brittle autumn leaves rattle like the voices of the dead — wait! is that a blood-curdling scream you hear on the wind? Nope. It was just the wheezing asthmatic lungs of the neighborhood kids, as they peel themselves off their couches and away from their first-person-shooter video games in order to spend an hour or two outdoors for the first time in months. Here they come, shuffling down the street in their adorable Walking Dead costumes, pillowcases agape, their pale little faces turned upwards in hopes of some sweeties. (Nature’s Path, October 28)

It doesn’t have to be perfect

In “the darkening corner of the year,” Claire Curole writes about our tendency to compare ourselves to perfection, and come up short.

What happens when we step back into detached absurdity and—just for the heck of it—reframe our understanding of the world and how it fits together and who we need to be within it in such a way that “All fucked up!” stops being a problem urgently in need of a fix and transforms into an operating parameter, something that we run into and work around and run into again and again?

What if “broken” is the baseline? What if it isn’t perfect because it could not ever have been, because there was—and is and can be—no such thing? (Sand Hill Diaries, October 26)

Tina Porter notices a few imperfections in her brand new kitchen—and works to let it go.

It doesn’t have to be perfect
cuz it never will be
and I imagine the first nick
in the butcher block
will take the wind out of me
like a sock to the gut

But then, I’ll breathe out
and keep dicing, slicing,
and making food for people
out of kitchen
that isn’t perfect (Ugly Pies, October 27)

Andrew Hidas loses all the data on his cell phone, and spends a day fighting to get it back.

But as the day unwound, much of it tortuous, I kept coming back to that moment of awakening to my phone and its entire contents being erased (“Hello!”), it not knowing me or my stuff from Adam. Asking me to start over. . . . There is so much in that history, yes? We carry it with us, a touchstone of identity, of experience, of pride, of grudge, of guilt. Do we dare let it go, however much it may still wound or weigh us down? (Traversing, October 27)

Christine Organ says what every parent feels: we don’t know what we’re doing.

Do you ever feel like you're all alone on the Island of I-Don't-Know-What-the-Heck-I'm-Doing?

Do you ever feel like you're a half-step behind, like everyone else is in on some big secret about How to Do and Have It All, like they forgot to give you the big Parenting Handbook before you left the hospital?

. . . Yeah, me too. (HuffPost Parents, October 23)

Tumult and stillness

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden writes about the words and thoughts that buffet us all day long, day after day.

We are awash in words. In thoughts. In gigabytes. No wonder so many are searching for ways to quiet the mind. Words don’t issue out of burning bushes anymore. No, they flow like an ever-flowing stream.

No wonder mindfulness and spiritual practice have become big business. How can we find enough quiet to listen to that still small voice? How will we ever find enough quiet to ask someone, “What’s the matter?” (Quest for Meaning, October 29)

The Rev. Madelyn Kelstein Campbell survives a close encounter with a wasp during worship, without being stung, and learns some lessons about life and ministry from the experience.

It’s great to allow flexibility and to have some give-and-take, but there are limits. I wasn’t going to let the wasp go up my sleeve. In ministry, and in life, it’s important not to let others take over my life – to get under my skin. There are tools to use for this – redirection, closed access, and time-outs, for example. Cooperation is great, but it doesn’t mean turning into a doormat. (The Widow’s Mite-y Blog, October 26)

A new tool for congregations

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum begins a series of posts reviewing the newly released UUA Wordpress Theme for congregational websites.

Something I wasn't expecting, and am overjoyed about, is the demo content. I haven't gotten a chance to look at it yet, but it's so wonderful to have sample content provided—not all of us are great writers, and even if we are may not understand the best way to write for webpages. The demo content, as well as the list of suggested images, are exactly what our congregations need. (Rev. Cyn, October 27)

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