Battery Charge – Reflection from Tuli Patel
There I was, on the very last day of General Assembly (GA is our annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists from across the US and the rest of the world), physically pretty exhausted, ready to head back to loved ones left at home for almost a week, and – my car battery was dead. I launched into my lets-solve-this-problem mode, but I had to admit that I was feeling pretty despondent. People from UC Summit who were also attending GA were sympathetic and kind, each one offering to come give me a jump start, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it efficiently. They were leaving later, or earlier, and that would mean I would have to sit in a running car or drive it around and there was a worship service that morning I did not want to miss. It was really weighing me down. And then, as I was loitering in the breezeway on the way to the parking garage, dreaming up impossible schemes that would revive my battery and put me squarely on the path home, I ran into the Neirs, Keith and Lessie, longtime members of Summit, who not only had jumper cables, but were parked right next to me AND were leaving at the same time as I was – unbelievable. It couldn’t have worked out better if I’d scripted it. I found out later that Lessie had moved her car to be closer to the entrance and the only open spot was next to my van. In the end, my journey home was smooth and felt unencumbered by dead batteries.
The rest of GA was sort of like my revived battery – I was spiritually tired when I arrived and I left rejuvenated and excited – my internal battery got charged. General Assembly is designed to do just this – not only through new ideas and learning of new and exciting programs, but through connections with those one might meet only once year, reinforcing our commitment to Unitarian Universalism. Collective worship underscores our need and desire to be with one another. I did not necessarily love every workshop I went to or adore every worship (I even walked out of one – but that is a story for another time), but I definitely got my once-a-year underscoring of why I am engaged in this work for our faith movement. This kind of recharging is not easily found; a good night’s rest just won’t cut it. But GA never fails to. Next year – Portland! I hope you will join me.
Best wishes for a wonderful July and August,