A Farewell Blessing: May You Be that Prolific

First Unitarian Universalist Society Burlington

June 16, 2024

The story we just heard and saw comes from an author who had to say a particular kind of good-bye to his mother – the kind of good-bye that comes when a person dies. We have a different good-bye to say to you – the good-bye of closing out one chapter of your professional life, making space for opening other, next chapters.

The story we just heard and saw comes from an artist who was using his creativity to make sense of his world. This meaning making, this generative adding to the world, this essential act of creation is within each of us.

Yet somehow, by coincidence or context, just or unjust, tragic or triumphant, some of us find ourselves called artist by others. 

Some of us find ourselves calling ourselves artist, sometimes with curiosity or confidence; sometimes with ambivalence and even dismay. Hopefully, at some point, with equanimity.

We call you artist

We call you that particular kind of artist that makes art with music; we call you musician

We also call you artist and musician not just with music general or particular instruments like guitar or voice or piano, but with our musical spirits, with our tender souls that you tend to. 

We call you builder because you value the act of building community through song, through music, through connection with each other, among all the parts. 

We call you generator, because you know that we are larger than the sum of our parts, and you help us to know this too.

We call you meaning maker, because you help us make connections that enrich our lives.

The story we just heard and saw used the metaphor of a dandelion to convey its message. The story chose dandelion not as irritant, not as inconvenience, not as blemish on some sylvan lawn. In a similar spirit, the author and community organizer, adrienne maree brown, tells us that 

dandelions don’t know whether they are a weed or a brilliance. […] each seed can create a field of dandelions.

Then she notes:

we are invited to be that prolific. 

This is our blessing for you, 

 as you go forth (not at this very moment, but soon, so soon, for today is your last day at First UU):

James, I invite you to turn and face the congregation. Find that posture of dignity that softens and receives a blessing from this people, in this place. I Invite the congregation to rise in body or spirit and speak that phrase ~ may you be that prolific ~ after each line that I say:

Honoring that it seems to be an inherent part of your personality, when it comes to sparking the gift of music within others

Now that you will not be working full-time and then some, when it comes to being the parent and partner you want to be

When it comes to forgiveness, first and foremost of yourself…

When it comes not to striving as if it were a pressurized container, but to soften into the possibilities that await within you…

When it comes to sharing your compassion that leads you to make connections that others do not perceive…

In knowing your deep and worthy essence that is above and beyond and beneath and woven through any and all hurt that you have experienced and may experience in your life

In your leaving this place and this people who have come to love you and appreciate the ministry you brought us, may you and may we make the space you need to grieve, grow and make room in our hearts for all that is to come…

Let us say now the same blessing changing one word – from you to WE ~ three times with love: