By Gigi Austin
Since being asked to write a short share about why I have chosen to commit to the Springhouse adult certificate program in regenerative culture, the opening verse from an old Unitarian Universalist hymn has been looping through my thoughts as a summative answer to the question. When reading the words to the verse it is important to know that the 92-year-old parishioner who was my faithful pewmate for years sang it with an enthusiasm that bordered on raucousness (if a church hymn can indeed be deemed as raucous). Her fervor, I believe, contributed to the song etching its way into the grooves of my psyche, thus making it readily available to answer the posed question, despite the fact that I haven’t thought of the song for at least fifteen years. It starts like this,
Just as long as I have breath, I must answer, “Yes,” to life;
though with pain I made my way, still with hope I meet each day.
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, “Yes,” to life.
(Words by Alicia Carpenter, 1930-2021
Music by Johann G. Ebeling, 1637-1676)
Alicia Carpenter wrote these lyrics when she was 51-years-old. At age 52, one year her senior, I long to feel in my bones such determination and gusto. While living as a professional nomad in Spain, Central and South America for all of my forties, I had some fabulous adventures that I wouldn’t trade for anything. They were a geographic cure for an underlying dissatisfaction with life, though, and often a running from rather than a running to. Menopause has arrested the running and the slowing down is refocusing my sights on what is going with me (vibe) and what I’m leaving behind for the next generation (material) when this body takes its last breath. Within the old paradigm of thinking with which I was raised, it doesn’t “make sense” to invest time, money and energy into a program that isn’t laying a clearly paved path of external security before me. Within the new paradigm of thinking, which I dare to call the true truth and claim as humanity’s lone hope, it only makes sense to invest in “Yes to Life!” Isn’t that what regenerative culture and vitality centered education do? I’m excited to collaborate with Springhouse as we set forth in the co-creation of divine dividends.