As I write this on Oct. 25, we are heading into a month full of uncertainty, but also consecrated to reflecting on gratitude as we prepare December’s many holidays. Perhaps our biggest spiritual challenge will be finding ways to be grateful for uncertainty.

And what a challenge! I don’t know how the 2020 election will come out or when we will finally know the results. I don’t know when the arrival of a good vaccine or some other development will begin to put Covid-19 in our rear-view mirrors. I have no idea when humans – through cooperation or collapse – will decisively halt their upward spiral of hydro-carbon emissions driving climate change.

The dreadful uncertainty surrounding these and so many other big questions occupies an expanding and threatening space in my heart and mind. In my best moments, I tell myself I will become a better person learning how to cope with it. I will look more carefully at what is really going on in my life and the world around me. I will become a serenity warrior, skilled at separating what I can’t change from what I can.  I will become more creative. I will become more empathetic, I will focus on embodying Love, the calling at the heart of Unitarian Universalism.

But that all rests on faith and hope. Faith that what each of us does matters and hope that I can be wise. Wise in the sense of the saying “Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.” (Elbert Hubbard)

So how do we do that? I don’t have a sweeping answer for you, but I will say that we each get fairly regular opportunities to be amazed. Like the simple fact I woke up this morning to find that the underdog Tampa Bay Rays had tied the Dodgers in the best-of-seven Baseball World Series at two wins apiece in the ninth inning on what may be the most improbable comedy of errors by both teams to ever end a baseball game.

Brett Phillips, the obscure player who got the key hit that set the chain of mistakes in motion, is the lowliest substitute on the Rays team. He had been sent into the game as a pinch runner the previous inning. He had batted just 5 times in the last month of the season and struck out on four of them. And he was facing one of the top relief pitchers in baseball. Here’s what happened:

Here’s what Phillips said later:  “I definitely want to extend some advice to all the kids out there: keep dreaming big. These opportunities, they’re closer than you think.”

May you have a month encountering opportunities that are closer than you think.                               Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby