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Linda's Spiritual Biography

Robert Frost Poem: 

The Road Which Made All the Difference

Everyone has an “Eternal-Sacred-God-Given” Unique Potential. As we walk forward and toward the light, we grow inwardly. We awaken to our true selves. It is not a solitary journey. We need one another. We need to be IN community to reach our fullest potential. Sometimes we choose paths that branch off into unknown directions that may become our greatest lesson. There is truth, beauty, and goodness inspiring us along the way. I have been intrigued by Robert Frost, the poet, ever since middle school. The idea that we have choices, and how they shape the future is forward thinking and hopeful. My life has been one based on consciously choosing “The Road Less Traveled”, as in Frost’s poem. It HAS indeed “made all the difference.”

Making Life Choices

In a backward look in the mirror, I see that my life’s direction and purpose have all been designed around making choices that are less familiar and comfortable for the majority. The choices build one upon another. It is not easy to return to the original crossroads and walk down the other path.

Times of Transitions

Some of the turning points in my life are around career, transitions, relocations, spiritual friendships, and travel. By choosing the road of higher education and ministry there was less time and possibly less interest in having my own family. I did not marry and have family, yet by age 28, I was an A.N.T.S Seminary graduate and an Ordained Minister in the Congregational, United Church of Christ.

My First Ministerial Position

My first full-time position as clergy was to pastor a yoked ministry at the West Newfield and Limerick Maine Churches. For nearly 10 years I was the single white female minister who walked her dog to the post office and the man-made lake in West Newfield, Maine.

Other less frequently chosen roads traveled have included turning down two positions that I knew could have been mine. I knew that neither were the right road for me to travel. How did I know? The location or the personalities or the values, something was not consistent with my understanding of who I was meant to be. I sense that these choices were being guided by an inner knowing that I called “GOD.”

The Death of my Mother

After 10 years in the church and the death of my mother from cancer, I knew it was time to move on to the next stop. Again, I chose a road less traveled and left Maine to serve on a multiple staff church in an associate position. A suburban mid-state church in Connecticut was overwhelmingly congested as compared to the rural Maine Woods.

The Next Step - Ministering to a Grieving Church

I experienced a painful transition of service as a Associate Minister to an entire congregation grieving for their beloved Belinda co-pastor who died suddenly. She left behind two children and her co-pastor husband. I personally witnessed how grief and loss affects an entire community and an institution. The road was full of challenges that affected leadership abilities and the culture of the church community. I remained there for over four years until I knew that I had accomplished my work.

Finding a Second Spiritual Community

After my first 5 years of ministry, I began a private search for a deeper more personal and metaphysical understanding of God. Some would say that I touched upon New Age thought, others would say I gained a faith with a living God and a belief in angels and energy. I also gained an international community of friends and spiritual seekers.

This path was very complimentary to my love for yoga and natural healing. I had developed chemical sensitivities that fueled my search for non-traditional medicine and health practices. My career with the traditional church was well-defined and affirmed, yet I also gained a second spiritual community. I found the Urantia Book Community.

Train Trip Across the Country

I took an “unpaid sabbatical” and traveled by train from Hartford, CT to Vancouver Canada and back, over a three week period. I saw the continental divide of Colorado at night, visited and planned a family reunion in Glacier Park, Montana and attended a Spiritual Conference of the Urantia Community in Vancouver Canada. Taking the road less traveled has made all the difference, and I have dear friends from this second spiritual community.

Transitons - Living in a Racially Diverse Neighborhood

There have been many zigs and zags on my path of life yet the last one, I share is of my 48th year. I was living in a parsonage and finishing my next to last interim ministry position in Bloomfield, Connecticut. I chose to move with my dog Lucy to a rental house with the option to buy. I was living in a racially diverse neighborhood where I was the minority.

Finding A Spiritual Brother

It was an act of faith and frugal planning that allowed me to buy the house 18 months later. It too was uncommon, for a 48-year-old single woman, first-time buyer to choose a 60-yr. old home. This choice had many financial and social consequences. I had many roommates over the 15 years of home ownership. I gained a dog walking buddy in John, who also became my Spiritual Brother, friend, and teacher concerning life in a primarily Black African American neighborhood.

Being an Advocate and Caregiver

John passed in September of 2018 after many struggles with learning disabilities and addictions. We became spiritual friends and close companions for 10 years and I became his caregiver. Our friendship changed my perceptions of the world, racial issues, and urban survival.

Working On A Hospice Team

My current position is a hospice bereavement coordinator in a home care agency. I have learned more from the families in hospice about the end-of-life process. I have become convinced that some dimension of life exists beyond this physical world. I appreciate how difficult it is to make decisions around health care, advanced directives, and deal with the process of saying goodbye to a loved one.

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye to a loved one may be the most difficult thing that we do. Yet, helping people be ready to “Let Go” is meaningful for everyone involved. Hospice Work has sharpened my pastoral skills, allowed me to develop workshops and facilitate bereavement support group. I appreciate working with my colleagues and understand the value of an interdisciplinary team.

Coming Full Circle

Now it is time to come full circle and stare into the face of retirement. I will be moving back to Maine to be near to my sisters and extended family. I have said Goodbye to both of my parents. Their deaths were very different and yet I appreciate what I learned from them both in life and death.

My last career chapter has been thirteen years as a Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, which affirmed my gifts. I know how to be faithfully with people at end of life and then minister to their bereaved families afterwards.

Ready To Serve in a New Way

I am ready to share the experiences learned about loss, transitions, starting over, self-care, building a social network and embracing community during this next chapter of my life. I am grateful for the road less traveled, for the people that I have met, deep friendships formed, and my reliance and love of God.

Without my spiritual faith both traditional and non-traditional, both of which I still maintain, I would not be the fulfilled, grounded, and contented person that I am today. I earned all the white hairs on my head legitimately and lovingly. I want to share what I have learned and help others to find their authentic way; regardless of which road they travel.

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