New Heights, New Perspectives – Rev. Beth Chronister

Jul 27, 2017

As we lifted into the air, I was amazed how peaceful it was. The nose of our small plane lifted higher and higher until suddenly we were soaring above the waters of the Puget Sound. Looking down, the ferries became like bathtub toys and the sailboats appeared as white and blue specks skipping across the waves. Life felt both huge and small, great and precious at the same time. We hung there for a while over the water, suspended between the tall buildings of downtown and the snow-covered heights of the Olympic Mountains. My eyes drank in the views of the sun setting over the distant peaks and the islands as if my sight had been long parched for beauty and grandeur. I pressed my face against the window as the body of the plane glided in slow, graceful circles over the city I only recently began to call home.

Almost one year ago, I moved across the country to live and work here in Seattle. To be honest, it has been a challenging transition, leaving the life I had created to begin again in someplace entirely new. Over my first winter, I found it difficult to attach to this place with all its rain and its unique Pacific Northwesternly ways that feel so very different from the Midwestern culture of my birth. There were many times this past year that I felt disoriented by all the change and was left grasping for direction under the heavy clouds. However, even within this time of confusion there were moments of incredible clarity and connection. Each time the sun would break, I would be reminded about the absolute glory that surrounds Seattle on all sides. Each time I would make a new connection or a new friend, I would feel gratitude that my path had led me here.

Each time we gathered as members and friends of University Unitarian Church to companion one another and to achieve something together that we could not do alone, the calling to shared ministry that led me here a year ago would come back into focus and encourage me onward. Each of these experiences shifted my perspective from loss to gratitude, invited me to gaze upon life with renewed curiosity, and to open my heart once more to the Spirit of Life that I believe moves throughout all of existence.

As we flew over Seattle, I felt my perspective shift once more toward gratitude, amazement, curiosity, and joy. As the plane arched through the sky, my heart cracked open to let the beauty of the moment rush in and fill me up. It was an experience of grace. At the end of this year of transition, growth, and change, it was one more reminder of that life might just be waiting for us on the other side of our comfort zones. Having now returned to the ground, I hold tenderly to the possibility that the Spirit of Life is poised and ready to rush in, fill us up, and leave us forever changed if we can just open our hearts, shift our perspectives, and risk leaving the safety of known ways.

The Avowal

As swimmers dare

to lie face to the sky

and water bears them,

as hawks rest upon air

and air sustains them,

so would I learn to attain

free-fall, and float

into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,

knowing no effort earns

that all-surrounding grace.

Denise Levertov


What is an experience you’ve had recently that expanded or shifted your perspective? Where in your life might it help to get a bird’s eye view? What have you learned from leaving your own comfort zones?

*** Much gratitude to Judith Wood and Cal Van Zee for inviting me along on their adventure!***

UUC From above!