“Trusting Our Joy”

When I was growing up, “integrity” meant doing what was right and being a good person. That, in turn, meant a whole host of “shoulds” and “should nots,” which could sometimes make integrity feel pretty heavy. This heaviness could inspire a certain spiritual discipline, making me feel like I was on the right track…but was I?

What if, as poet prophets like Mary Oliver have counseled, our most important work of integrity is truly to share our unique light (our intrinsic goodness) with the world? And what would shift in our lives if we embraced the radical notion that there is no more reliable way to connect with and share our “soul shine” than to follow our own JOY?

This Sunday, let’s experiment. What if, just for soul shine’s sake, I followed my joy in a different direction? Might the experience we share actually have more integrity? I hope you’ll join me to find out… (HINT – Come ready to sing!)


David Ruffin is a Unitarian Universalist minister, artist and educator who came to Vermont for a sabbatical two and a half years ago and hasn’t been able to leave. Early in his ministry he founded the alternative community, The Sanctuary Boston, a spiritual home for young adults and other seekers not finding a fit in more traditional church environments. He then served as Assistant Minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK. Prior to ministry, David worked as an actor and singer based in New York City and still takes great joy in music and the arts. Since coming to Vermont, David has dived into sustainable agriculture and outdoor education, working with the Metta Earth Institute in Lincoln, VT, Crows Path’s Field School in Burlington, and the Walden Project, an alternative outdoor school program of Vergennes Union High School.