3912  Dillard Rd  
39th & Hilyard  
Eugene OR  97405 
(541) 345-9913 
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Upcoming Services and Special Events!

Sunday, May 20th, 10:30 amOur YFM Coordinator, Christina Scott, and a panel of youth will share how mental illness has touched their own lives and relationships in “Finding Light in the Shadows, Part 1: What Teens Can Teach Us about Mental Health.”

Sunday, May 27th, 10:30 am: As we continue honoring Mental Health Awareness Month, Music Director, Laura DuBois and Jon West will explore practical and loving ways that communities like ours can help with “Finding Light in the Shadows, Part 2: Turning Stigma into Hope.”


Unity Church

Changing the Equation

He looked me straight in the eye, right in the middle of high school algebra, obviously upset, and said for all to hear:  “Miss Ripple (that was my maiden name), I can only say I hope and pray that if you ever succeed in becoming the teacher you want to be, you will never teach any kind of math above the fifth grade level.”  I hoped so too, as numbers just got jumbled in my head and floated off into some kind of vortex whenever I got beyond simple arithmetic.  Words were another thing.  They came together in correct spelling and formation with little effort. To try and blend the two – numbers and letters – and make sense of it, was not something my mind could handle. This was obvious as I attempted to navigate through the required conundrum of algebra. I sat there stunned, not due to any disagreement with him, but that he would point that out in front of my peers.  He stomped out of the room, and I froze in my seat.

In the stunned silence that followed his exit, with my body beginning to shake from held back tears, I got up out of my seat, took the chalkboard eraser off its tray and began erasing everything on the board, beginning with the day’s date.  Soon I was joined by one classmate, then another, and soon we had erased the entire board and begun to throw erasers at each other. This was followed with paper airplanes and other various items that sailed easily through the air until we were all dissolved in laughter and totally out of control.  And I had started it all. 

The consequence?  Nothing. Yes, absolutely nothing.  He walked back into the room, saw the mess, saw us all standing there with spent energy, proceeded to the chalkboard and wrote on the board two page numbers and the following words: “ You have 1 hour to complete this work and hand it in.  You will work in absolute silence. Now get to work.” On graduation day he came up to me, took my hand to shake it and said words I have never forgotten.  “Miss Ripple, I should have suspended you on that day, but it was the first time I had ever seen you really let go, let it all out, quit being so controlled and self-contained.  I saw spirit in you I had never seen, but I knew it was there.  I saw you laughing your head off, in leadership of a bunch of rowdies, and letting me have it for being so hard on you, which I deserved.  Remember this experience when you are teaching your own classroom so you can teach from the place of the true you. Remember to set expectations, take charge when needed, tell it like it is for you, but make laughter a part of all you do in the classroom and in your life.”  And then he added, “Stay loosened up, it becomes you. But just don’t ever try to teach math beyond fifth grade level.  Promise me.”  I kept my promise. 

What does this story have to do with our Sunday topic of finding light and hope in the shadows of life?  Well, it taught me that when you are being authentic, when you can change anger into laughter, when you can allow others to feel your pain and when you can acknowledge theirs, together you can be a part of the healing. When you can be forgiven by someone for being out of control and offer that forgiveness in return, you will also learn to be a part of the change that is possible. Life is hard at times.  When it is, that’s the time to look for what I call “the rose people–those who clearly see the rose of potential and not the thorns of human imperfections; those who are ready to help you along the path and are willing to do what it takes to help that happen even if it’s risky. Seek them out, or better yet, become a “rose person.” Be wise, but also be brave when it comes to helping others find joy in their lives. We can’t do the work all by ourselves. We often forget how to have joy along the way.  We need to set ourselves free to allow the light and joy to come in–the joy that comes from finding and being our true selves and helping others find their own authenticity.

When I graduated from college, my algebra teacher was there.  At my 25th high school reunion, he was there. The way he taught me about life may seem cruel, but he knew me at a depth I had not comprehended. He cared enough to throw me headlong into uncharted waters, knowing I could swim if I wanted to. This was the time for me to make that decision.  Maybe it was Spirit working through my teacher and using the ol’ two-by-four to the head approach. But had you known me at that time you would have seen the strong push I needed if I was going to move on in my life. Yes, I drove my teacher to frustration, but what he did made all the difference in my 30-year teaching career. Some of my high school classmates are still on the planet and remember that special day. We have laughed about it more than once. We still wonder how he was able to do what he did for each of us, in his own very unusual way, which would make several other good stories.   

This story occurred at a time in my life when I covered up my feelings of inadequacy with a rather self-assured persona that my teacher saw through.  Seeing something in me that needed shaking up, he broke through my resistance to admitting that math was not my strong point. Cruel?  No.  As he told me later, “I wanted you to teach from your strengths, knowing that if you did, your math issue would take care of itself,” which it did, but that’s another story.  

In order to let the light into the dark places we have to open the door, create the crack in the wall, allow our defenses to fall and then grasp hold of the truth of our Divine self.  Then, as Unity’s fifth basic principle tells us, we are asked to live the Truth we know.  That includes reaching out to others and being there for them, assisting and supporting them, loving them, leading them to the light in their own lives.  Unity communities were and are designed to change the equation, to bring balance and hope. Let’s not forget to do our work. Maybe not so bluntly as my teacher worked on me, but definitely with love.

In love and appreciation for it all, 

Sherry   


May 21 to May 26

MONDAY (7:00-9:00 p.m.) – Unity Open Men’s Circle meets in the Fillmore Wing. This group is open to all men within our church community and our larger Eugene community. For more information, contact Raymond Albano at 541-285-3943 / ralban0@icloud.com or Jim Drews at 541-726-8510.

WEDNESDAY (7:00 p.m.) – Documentary Film: Living and Dying: A Love Story. An intimate family film that documents the last week of Charlie and Francie’s life as they chose to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act together. Local volunteers from End of Life Choices Oregon will facilitate small group discussions following the film.

May 28 to June 2nd


TUESDAY
 – 7:00 p.m. – The May 29 Behind the Lens Seminar movie is Destry Rides Again directed by George Marshall, followed by a Q&A session with Tom Blank.  Cost is $20 for the remaining films in series or $5 per time.

THURSDAY (11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.) – Joy of Watercolor. The emphasis of this class is on joy. Come and explore painting with watercolor in an encouraging and fun atmosphere. All skill levels welcome. For more information, contact Ellen Ticknor at 541-344-1490.

SATURDAY

 (1:00-4:00 p.m.) – Dynamic Yogic Sleep Workshop led by Sita. Cost of workshop is $30 with opportunity for follow up classes on June 5 and 6. For more information, contact Sita at 541-232-3635.

 (6:00-9:00 p.m.) – Reiki Do Satori Open House. This monthly event is open to all who are interested in receiving a short, free Reiki session for relaxation and/or healing. Reiki practitioners who would like to be part of this event are also welcome. Donations accepted.

– (7:00 p.m.) – I Am You Are Me: In Accord Community Choir Annual Concert at Unity directed by our own Choir Director, Mo Robeson. $7-10 (no one turned away.)

Upcoming

SUNDAY, JUNE 10 – Unity’s Annual Ice Cream Social in the Fellowship Hall. Join us for ice cream, chitchat, celebration, and fun!

FRIDAY, JUNE 15-SUNDAY, JUNE 17 - "Ocean of Spirit" Unity Yoga & Meditation Retreat in Yachats with Donna and Jon. Cost for retreat activities (not room and meals) is $135.  Register with Donna at yogawithdonna@gmail.com or call 541-683-7664.  Rooms fill fast, so call the Yachats Inn ASAP to reserve your room for Friday and Saturday night at 1-888-270-3456.

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