UU Membership is "graying"; we all know. In my short time as a UU I have heard and read a lot about why this is a problem and how to fix it. Demographically, I understand why aging memberships are a concern, but I have found a benefit to this lop-sided nature of our congregation. It has given me an opportunity to get to know a whole group of people with whom I almost certainly would have never interacted.
I love the older women in my church and I am so grateful I have gotten the change to get to know them. There is the cheerful & bubbly woman in her 70s who did more than anyone to convince me that AUUF was worth looking into. She loves and welcomes everyone and embodies loving-kindness. I recently heard one of our board members whisper that he wanted to be her when he grew up, and I don't think he is alone in that sentiment. She also introduced me to her women's group and the wonderful retired teacher who turned 71 on our shared birthday. That detail is just one of the many things this second woman and I have in common. She has shown me how to remain yourself while embracing change, and that gratitude and contentment lay on the other side of difficulty. Her spirit make me glad to be around her.
The simultaneously bold and relaxed 60 year old who hosts our small group is such a role model for me. Every time I talk to her she makes me feel valued and appreciated while continuing to push me to be the person I want to be. She pushes in the nicest way possible, but still... you know you were pushed. These wonderful women take everything in stride. When things go wrong they laugh, do what can be done, and move on with life. I love this about them.
These are just the three who stand out to me the most. There are others who I don't know as well, but I look forward to learning what they have to teach. I only hope that when it is my turn to be one of the elders I will have gained some of their love and wisdom, expressed with their humor and grace. I hope that I can be to a younger person what they have been to me.