A Letter on Living

A Letter on Living

My thoughts on life and how I want to live mine.

By Clairece Cooke

This is my purpose, the reason I am here.

Create Beloved Community by

Experiencing Existence

& Living with Love

I am here to be a steward of beloved community. A state never fully realized and yet something I will struggle for as long as I am alive. Where church is able to thrive among all things. Church being when the god or the holy, the spark of life in each thing, our potential for good, our potential for connection, does connect, touches the god in another. Beloved community, this church everywhere, is thwarted by things that seek to contain, or hide, or separate the holy. A journey towards beloved community is one that seeks to remove these barriers, to increase the potential for church. This path is what I call sacred and loving its vehicle. And for this reason, we have been given the gift of experience, to know church and to know what it isn't. I want to let this love that springs from knowing to be the passion that burns in my heart and under my feet, compelling me to, together with others, to build beloved community.

Originally completed: 30/21/2020

Last Edited: 12/30/2022

The letter above is a credo or a statement of belief. I wrote one of these many years ago for my coming of age class as a right of passage in my Unitarian Universalist faith tradition. In 9th grade along with my peers I was asked to contemplate the answers to what we call the five big questions:

(1) What does it mean to be human and alive?

(2) How do we live in the face of death and loss / what happens when we die?

(3) What is the nature of the holey / God?

(4) What is the role of the church in creating beloved community?

(5) Sacred …

(Some of these questions have been altered slightly since I was in coming of age. These are the newer versions used in my congregation)

After a year of lessons and discussions with peers, mentors, and teachers each of us wrote a credo expressing our ideas and beliefs on these topics that we then shared with the whole church reading them aloud at our coming of age ceremony.

Since writing that document I rarely looked at it and eventually lost track of the original document (eventually to be found again in email archives - you can read it here). However, the sentiment, the idea, and the importance of the credo have remained firmly in my mind.

Early 2020 I was fresh post-breakup (which also meant moving out of an apartment that I loved and in with my parents), working a job that would slowly erode me, and, as we all know, soon to be experiencing an intense global pandemic while living alone. Needless to say, I had a LOT of feelings and one of those feelings was that I desperately needed to figure out who I was. Not necessarily what I wanted to do in life but HOW I was going to do my life. I yearned for the confidence to feel that I had gotten to know myself and my beliefs well enough that when I did something, anything, my actions, and my words would truly be aligned with the person that I was choosing to be (as opposed to simply reactionary).

The credo above is one iteration of my evolving beliefs and ideas about the world. I took much journaling, deep discussions, and many drafts over more than two years to come up with what is written above. I hope that through this process (that will be ever ongoing) of discovering myself through deep thought about my beliefs and how my life can and should be shaped by them, I will live a life that is not only more authentic but one I have chosen to live.

Originally completed: 12/26/2022

Last Edited: 12/30/2022