Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

The Surprise of Emptiness–and the Reassurance of Others

Acting Senior Minister’s Newsletter Column  September 2013


I didn’t expect I’d miss them.

The male-female couple in the apartment across from mine moved away in May, taking the calico cat they had inherited from previous neighbors.  Due to allergies, they made her a bed in a box outside their door.  During the day, she lounged around in the courtyard.  She visited neighbors like me.  She was the community’s kitty.

They and I often chatted in passing, and waved to each other from our living room windows, but we never “hung out.”   After moved in, she brought me two cupcakes.  When I was away on a trip, they noticed, and asked about it.

That same week, the neighbor downstairs moved to a Section 8 apartment across town.  She had filled the courtyard by our two doors with flowers and potted plants.  I hid a key under her Kwan Yin statue.  She lent me her ironing board, and I lent her a listening ear now and then.  Now I have some of her surplus plants around my front steps.  We were friendly, but not friends.

I was not prepared for the feeling of personal emptiness after both of their apartments became empty.  I entered the courtyard on arriving home and look toward their doors.  Inside my place, I looked out the window for them.  Going out, I expected to greet the dozing kitty. But they were all gone.  I missed them.

Wow!  I had gradually become attached to them.  Their presence had been reassuring to me.   Part of what made my apartment into a home.

This makes me think of church, and all the people who choose to make it a spiritual home.  Most of us come here because we are seeking, hoping, and wanting to receive something for our own lives by participating.   That is natural.

But there’s more.

We get attached to each other, even if we don’t know everybody’s name.

By coming here on Sundays and at other times, by giving the gift of your simple presence, you are making a difference to others.

Your presence at UUSS is a source of comfort and reassurance to other people at UUSS, even people you do not know.

Thanks for all that you do and all that you give.  And most of all, thanks for being here!

See you in church,


PS—Don’t forget:  We switch to our two-service schedule on Sunday, September 8.  Religious Education starts, at the 9:30 service.  Thanks to our RE volunteers!

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: