Lost at Sea: Patience and Keturah DeWeese
April 3, 2016
This story is a part of the American Pilgrimage Project, a conversation series that invites Americans of diverse backgrounds to sit together and talk to each other one-to-one about the role their religious beliefs play at crucial moments in their lives.
In the Witness community, it’s not an uncommon experience, because its many people raised as Witnesses through childhood are impelled to make a decision “for” or “against” the community in early adulthood.
Patience’s departure from the community was different. In conversation with her daughter, Keturah, in an American Pilgrimage Project session in Charleston, West Virginia, Patience spelled out why, beginning with the story of the family crisis that prompted her—a third-generation Witness—to question her faith.
For one thing, her departure took place when she was in her early thirties and was already raising Keturah in the community.
For another, it represented a turning “out,” more than a turning “against” or “away.” In the 15 years since Patience has sought spiritual insight and solace in Roman Catholic liturgy, in Hindu spirituality, in witchcraft, and in her commitment to making the world a better place—rather than waiting for God to do it. And she has found a home in the Unitarian Universalist tradition.
We’re used to thinking of home as a place to settle into, and spiritual memoirs are full of accounts of the seeker’s arrival at this or that church as a final destination. Patience DeWeese sees it differently. She sees UU (as it is called) as a place where she can be at home as who she is—a person who’s “always going to be in transition.”
The interview was recorded and produced by StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.