Karen Stoyanoff, OCUUC Minister Emerita, was minister of OCUUC from 1998-2011.
There is a lot of light shining in the world: the bright glow of love, the fiery light of commitment, the gentle, steady light of peace, the sparkling light of hope and joy. Whenever we reflect these lights out into the world by our actions, our words, or our emotions, we “go shining.” That is what Norma Cordell, Unitarian Universalist minister in the San Francisco Bay area, believed and told others.
I first heard about Norma on the day she died in October, 1998. I was working with another minister who had been her friend and who was musing on her life. He talked about how she brought light to others by her wonderful spirit and the way she lived in the world. He said, “she always said, ‘go shining’ at the end of her message and that’s what she did. It’s sad that we will no longer have that spirit in our world.” I – even though I never met her – was touched by that story of her life, and responded, ”I could adopt that phrase and keep it going.” And so I have! Every so often someone tells me how much they like that I say “Go shining” as my parting blessing, and then the light is reflected back to me. It feels good – warm, comforting, and inspiring – all things I want and need in my life. But my real surprise came not long ago when I read a message from a UU minister, geographically distant, but close to my heart. He signed his message to his congregation, “go shining” and I knew that he was reflecting my blessing – he heard it from me! We don’t always get to know that we have positively influenced someone else – that our light has radiated to them and is shining through them.
But we do know that it happens! My life influences yours, you in turn influence others, and they spread that light beyond the circle of our immediate community, until eventually it comes back to inspire more light in each of us.
So, take all the love, hope, joy, and peace that you find and let it shine out to everyone you may meet. It is a blessing, both to you and to the world!
In the meantime, may you