“Boats against the current…”

Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden
President’s Column, October 2015

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”  Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

I thought about this famous last line from The Great Gatsby a few times this summer in some more whimsical moments of reflection (the past) and planning (the future).  I was briefly persuaded by a critic who wrote that one must be over 30 to really understand the value, that Fitzgerald suggests will come from being “against the current” in the stream of life.  Then I saw that this was a cranky “school of hard knocks” kind of critic.  He likely enjoyed bragging to other people’s children of going three miles to school, on foot, uphill both ways.

No. I think that so many of our young family members, students, neighbors, and church members have a keen sense that life is a struggle— that the past and present are connected and that the values and virtues that build and re-build community are for keeps.  This church, in Meriden since before the American Civil War, is such a living legacy of community and faith. Our hope and energy, nearly always “against the current,” and leading the way, now in the early 21st century as a spirited beacon for justice, equity, and compassion in central Connecticut.

Some things change, some things stay the same. Communities of faith have a consequential voice in determining this balance. Let’s keep our congregation in the thick of this never-ending conversation—this  ceaseless struggle. 

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