Once, in a contested place,
I met a soldier face to face.
We stopped and turned and walked away,
Both to live another day.
I often wonder who he was
And where he is and whom he loves,
And if he ever sees, like me,
A soldier in his memory,
Or if before the end he fell,
Leaving only me to tell
Of our meeting, face to face,
Once, in a contested place
–Phil Ellsworth, Cedaredge, Colorado
As I think about connection in this world we live in, I realize that it is time to truly embrace the truth of the deep connection that we are invited into both with other human beings and the world around us. I would like to share the wisdom of two of our beloved elders in our UU community who we lost due to COVID this past year. Their wisdom lives on in their stories. This is an excerpt from a sermon I offered in 2019 before the world shut down.
“We have been given two poignant examples over the past few weeks of two souls making life-defining decisions to let another live and cultivating ‘Divine Connection’ as a result.
On Memorial Day, Phil Elsworth shared with us a beautiful example of how one 19-year-old German commander made the ‘time standing still’ decision to let Phil’s platoon pass by when they very easily could have and should have been ambushed. This German soldier chose human connection instead of human fear, and Phil came home and was able to share his beautiful poetry with the world because of it.
And then a few weeks later, Duane Carr offered the beautiful story of being a young man coming face to face with a magnificent buck, making eye contact with the animal, and putting his rifle down and watching it walk away.”
They both described that transcendent moment when time stands still while a life-defining decision is being made. I was changed by both of their stories and their lived examples.
When we understand that we are truly interconnected with another being, and we choose life (a split moment in time, and an eternity at the same time) we enter into eternity in that split second. That is what true connection really is.
Life and death; a moment of decision; a divine connection; a universal knowledge; a karmic encounter; a true recognition of another being.
This is what we need more of; more of these stories shared and told; role models of Divine Connection. This is what the world needs. The understanding that “No Soul Sings Alone.”
– Rev. Wendy Jones
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley
Western Slope Faith Leaders Table