This past weekend, I gave a homily during a lay-lead service at our church. I felt like a minor celebrity, with all those lovely people congratulating me and telling me how much they enjoyed it; several people asked for copies, and one even said it should be published! So, by popular request, here is my homily, entitled "This I Believe":
Good morning. I’m Kim Hersey, and I believe in you. I believe in people, and I trust that they are good. I know we’re selfish and imperfect, but that’s ok. In fact, I prefer my people that way.
I believe in Love, and I believe It is good. I believe we're all going to the same place, but how much we enjoy the journey is up to us. I believe in priorities – I believe that being happy should be priority number one.
I believe in the miracle that is my daughter and I believe man alone cannot make that brand of perfect. I believe that childhood is beautiful. I believe in magic and whimsy, so I can give them to my children before they lose the faith. (Sometime around when they stop thinking kissing is gross, I imagine.)
I believe in wearing sexy underpants, even if no one will see them.
I believe in the healing powers of music, water, coffee and friends. I believe that work goes more smoothly with love, and wine goes better with laughter.
I believe in reading.
I believe cardio isn't the only necessary exercise for your heart.
I believe in honesty in communication. I believe in communication in relationships. I believe first dates don't have to be awkward but that, sometimes, it's part of the fun.
I believe in small victories: finding a good parking space; having all the ingredients for dinner; remembering to pack something needed; a hug just when you wanted one.
I believe that the greatest deficit our country faces is that of love for one another and I believe we need to start working on that now.
I believe in community. As Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The community you build has a unique advantage over your family - you get to choose them. Life is a team sport, y’all, pick a good starting lineup.
I believe in ice cream. Especially chocolate kinds. I believe that people are like flavors of ice cream. They might not be my favorite, but they’re all pretty good and I believe it’s important to remember that someone likes them best.
I believe in ritual and spirituality. I believe everyone needs these elements in their lives. You may count brush strokes when you’re brushing your teeth, or kneel in prayer at the same time everyday, but everyone has ritual. Humans thrive on it, and I think that’s beautiful.
I believe that everything happens for a reason, but there may not be logic to that reason. I believe that every tough situation will work out. But that doesn’t mean it will work out the way we want it to.
I believe that we all have deep-seated geographical preferences of which we are oftentimes unaware. I think it’s important to take note of where your body feels most at home, where your spirit feels most at peace.
I believe that catharsis - the process of releasing emotion through or because of art - is a necessary, wonderful, freeing aspect of the human condition. How lucky we are to see a play, watch a film or read a book and cry for the characters! How attuned we are to the collective to feel such empathy for figments and imagined hardships! If we can cry for the fictional characters we meet, what can’t we do for one another?
I believe in body modification. If our bodies are temples, I believe we deserve to decorate them for worship however we see fit. Somebody once asked me if I thought God had given me a nice enough body. I responded that Frank Lloyd Wright designs beautiful houses, but if I lived in one, I’d still want to put up my own curtains.
I believe that as long as a person is being safe, sane and consensual, it’s not my place to judge or tell him or her what to do. This is a struggle, and it only gets harder as I get better and better at using my mom voice. On the other hand, I fully believe that people tell others what to do not out of a sense of coercion or manipulation, but out of love. This might be foolish of me, but I can’t help it. I also believe that when people drive dangerously, it’s because someone they love is having a baby and they must arrive in time. It’s nice to believe the best of people, if only because it makes road trips easier.
I believe children are far more capable than adults generally give them credit for. I believe we are robbing the next generation of their self-confidence and courage by insisting they are unqualified and unskilled and need our help. I believe in free-range parenting.
I believe that hydration is happiness and sunscreen is your friend.
I believe it’s a waste to chew bubblegum and not blow any bubbles.
I believe that something doesn’t have to be real to be true. There are lots of examples of this, and they mostly come from Star Wars.
I believe in gratitude. I’ve found that the two easiest ways to be happy are to be grateful and to perpetuate kindness through my actions. There was a preschool in Montana that gave the kids capes and called them “superheroes of kindness.” Three and four year olds ran a food drive and passed out flowers to strangers. Best. Superpower. Ever.
I believe we can all find peace within ourselves, and I believe that my journey to that includes helping others find theirs. I look forward to hearing what you all believe, in time, as I get to know you individually. Also, I have a sewing machine in case you’d like to make capes.