By Rev. Dr. Sharon Jacobson
For the last couple of years I have been writing this column that I call Soul and Inspiration and I have been sharing my thoughts and reflections about a diversity of issues, themes, and topics. However, at times, being a columnist for the Empty Closet feels like a one-way dialogue. I share with you and you do not have an opportunity to share back.
Therefore, this month, I would like to do something a little different. I would like to start a dialogue between me and those of you who are reading this column. Consider it a homework assignment. Here goes, I would like you to write, or type, in your own words, your most basic convictions about your spiritual life and who or what is the source of your strength. I am going to challenge you to do in one page. Whether you identify as Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Spiritualist, Unitarian, Universalist, Wicca, or some other spirituality, the challenge is for everyone. Write one page about your most basic convictions about your spiritual life and who, or what, is the source of your strength.
Then, as you feel comfortable, e-mail them to me at email@example.com and I will create a page on our church’s website, where we can get to connect with each other in this virtual space. You do not have to send it to me if you do not want to. However, whether you send it to me or not, I am going to ask you to share it with people you know.
So why am I asking you all to do this? There are a number of reasons. Sometimes we think we know what we feel and believe. It is another thing to articulate it, to write it down and discuss it in a way that captures what we feel and know to be true for who we are as human beings. Sometimes, it is in the process of writing our truth that we engage in a dialogue with ourselves that we were not sure we even needed to have with ourselves. Sometimes we spend so much time talking with everyone else, we forget to take time to talk with ourselves.
The other day, a few years ago, one of my students asked me about what I believed and why. It was one of the most powerful conversations I have ever had with one of my students. Some of the most powerful conversations, some of the most life changing conversations I have ever had with someone have been when I was sharing the passion of what I believe and why. I felt like I was sharing a part of me with that person. When I have, when I have opened my heart and shared it is as if I am leaving a part of myself with that person.
I shared with my congregation the other day that one of these days I will end, but it is my hope that the legacy of the work that I have done during my stay here on earth will live on. Recently, I was asked to write a letter to my mother, who passed away in 2001. As I wrote this, the stories, the parts of her that she had shared with me, the intimate moments that we had shared came flooding back to me.
I am not expecting that any of us are going to agree with each other as we share what is in our hearts, but what I am praying is that as we share, we will gain a greater appreciation for each other, for the various sources of energy that guide and direct our lives, and the gifts and love that flow through our community and through our city. I am also praying that this will become a source of inspiration for me as I continue to write columns for this paper, engaging in dialogues with what you have written, responding to the inspirational words that come from our community, and building bonds with you on some level. I am also praying this will become a space where you can engage with each other; a space where we can inspire each other and keep the love flowing. I am praying this will be a space where we make a difference in our own life and in the lives of others.
I am looking forward to growing and sharing with you. May we inspire each other this year and for years to come.