At the time of writing, my wife Janet and myself have just returned from a vacation in the state of Maine. Our accommodation, a summer cottage on Penobscot Bay, was generously offered by Susan Molnar as an item in Westside’s main fundraising event, the auction. This is one of
the many gifts of treasure, time and hospitality that are offered every year by Westside members to help us balance our budget. But the auction is more than just a fundraising exercise. It is part of the glue that holds Westside together. As we gather together for auction dinners or hiking trips, welcome folks into our home to do promised repairs or wash windows, we are forming bonds of friendship and community that will bring us joy in the good times and help us make it through times of loss or grief.
On our drive back from vacation, the check engine light came on in our car. Janet used her phone to find us an auto-parts place in Worcester Massachusetts that could read the code. They found us a mechanic open on a Sunday, who re-assured us that it was safe to travel on. Everyone was super friendly and helpful, even though we didn’t spend a nickel. The experience reminded me of an article I read recently about something called the light triad (https://scottbarrykaufman.com/introducing-the-light-triad/). A set of personality traits correlated with life satisfaction and good inter-personal relationships:
Kantianism – Treating people as ends unto themselves, not mere means
Humanism – Valuing the dignity and worth of each individual
Faith in Humanity – Believing in the fundamental goodness of humans
Sound familiar? As UUs, valuing people and having faith in their goodness, can lead us to disappointment sometimes. But if we persevere in that faith, we can become better at noticing and being grateful for the myriad acts of kindness and courage that are transpiring around us every day. Our little SMART car made it safely to Maine and back, and the generosity of UU friends and total strangers made it possible.
This year’s WUUC auction with take place on November 16th. Save the date. Think what simple gifts of time or skill you might offer to your Westside friends that will bring us closer together. And make a point of coming. It is fun!