Amongst the idyllic beauty of Sarasota’s foliage lined streets is the beautifully manicured gardens and sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Florida. With our motorhome settled in under a magnificent tree, Austin and I enjoyed a peaceful and gratifying weekend on the grounds.
The UUC of Sarasota has the largest membership in Florida and on this Sunday the sanctuary was literally standing room only for the 11:00 service. New to the church in 2012, the Rev. Roger Fritts is a charismatic speaker that draws one in comfortably to the warm atmosphere of the community. Speaking on Buddhism, as a part of an ongoing World Religions series, Rev. Fritts blended meditative readings, music, and the roots of the religion with a playful touch of humor. A popular belief system among Unitarians, he went on to explain the Buddhist belief that as we do not have souls, our rebirths are resultant from the “inexhaustible force of karma” that keeps us tied to the confines of physical being. Also similar to the UU chalice symbol as a focus within our sanctuaries is the Buddhist centering on the light or lamp within ourselves.
When visiting UUCS, one must take the time to tour the campus which easily fills an hour when taken in fully. The sanctuary, designed by architect Tollyn Twitchell, brings warmth into the space using a cypress beamed ceiling over glass and Ocala stone walls, and topped at the ends with stained glass windows by artist Syd Solomon. Opposite the sanctuary, and on the other side of the courtyard, is the office building which also holds a meeting space and art gallery in the Lexow Wing courtesy of the UUCS Arts Council. But not to be outdone is the magnificent Memorial Garden on the west side of the sanctuary, a sacred space tended to in memory of those lost to the community. Even in winter, the garden is full of colorful and fragrant blooms in tribute to the many gifts the earth provides.
For more information on attending the UUC of Sarasota: http://www.uusarasota.com/
To learn about Buddhism in Sarasota, visit: http://www.meditationinsarasota.org/
UUSC Art Gallery with hours for viewing: http://www.uusarasota.com/our-church/art-gallery.php
Architecture and photos of the inner sanctuary: http://www.uusarasota.com/our-church/architecture.php
What a way to start my day! I got up and started the usual routine, taking the dog out, making my morning tea, and getting Austin up for breakfast. The day was warming fast (in a vehicle that happens even at 50 degrees outside) so I decided to open the front door and dinette window to allow some cool air in. And this is where it hit, as I started to open the dinette window, it shattered! Really! I got it open maybe three inches and then that horrible, disconcerting quiet little ‘clink‘ that brought the window to pieces and me standing there holding the metal frame that was supposed to be attached to the glass.
Now if my rig was a bit older I might expect the occasional mishap, but this had to have been karma because it bit me again later in the day in a few ways. After taking two hours to clean up the glass from on, under and inside my dinette, I realized that the time I had spent was supposed to have been used typing my already late submission to the UUCEP newsletter, sorry Sonia! It was also Wednesday, and Wednesdays are laundry days so that means schlepping everything to the laundry facility and giving up a couple hours of my life that I’ll never get back. After all of this I had 60 sweet minutes to sit back and enjoy the quiet (or type like I should) before heading to the USO for my weekly volunteer shift.
So, I sat back, plugged in and turned on my laptop and put the boob tube to something meaningless while I heated some water for tea. But no, not to be. Within ten minutes the lights went out, not just in my camper but in the entire park. And they stayed out.
I finally gave up and gave in, leaned back, closed my eyes and rested for about ten minutes, thinking of how wonderful tomorrow just had to be as Austin ran outside and hopped on his bike along with all of the other kids in the park. Then I mustered my energy, got the lantern from it’s hiding hole, got ready for my USO shift and spent a wonderful evening with some of America’s finest.
And today? Today is a great day. In fact, every day is a great day!
To find out more about the USO, visit www.USO.org.