No Restraints to Belief

Quaker Meeting House in the Lake District

Quaker Meeting House in the Lake District

10 October 2013
11:43 pm

T. —

I’m staying up late tonight because there’s a deal on Snapfish (a photo printing website) that ends tomorrow: you can order unlimited photos to be printed for 1¢ each. Pretty good deal if you ask me, especially because mom has over 700 photos that she wants to print from our holiday in the Lake District and Skye. That’s a grand total of: $7.00. Plus shipping. But still, saves a lot of money. So yes, Bloom and I are staying up until all the photos are uploaded to make sure that mom gets her order in correctly and easily with no hassle. We had a 20 minute tutorial on “select all photos”, then “click”, then “drag — wait, don’t stop clicking. it’s a click and hold.” We eventually got there, and I’m proud that my mom figured out how to share her screen with me over Skype so I could see exactly what was going wrong. Wow, has technology developed.

In the meantime, waiting for the photos to upload (we’re at 14%), Bloom is eating Andrew’s jacket and generally making a nuisance of herself, and I am liking the chance to actually write to you for real for a change. The mornings are a funny time: not much has happened yet. Sometimes I like morning letters because they greet me every day, like an old friend having coffee over breakfast, chatting about our thoughts. Sometimes evening letters are better in terms of content: I’m thinking about writing these evening letters basically all afternoon, crafting thoughts and sometimes whole sentences in my head. But Andrew has to get up early, and we like to get enough sleep. Gone are the days when I stayed up all night, when the mood to write stuck me, when I burned the midnight oil. It’s not that I miss those nights, particularly. It’s just… God, maybe I don’t have enough of them.

Tonight I went to a Quaker discussion group. Have I ever told you my mixed religious background? My parents were Quakers when I was born. I’ve gone to some meetings as a kid. At least, I was raised in awareness of what Quakers are. I love silent meetings. I love the communal aspect of meditation and reflection. I love the idea that there is no intermediary between the self and the divine. I love the idea of honoring the divine spark in every person. There are a lot of links for me between Friends (how Quakers refer to themselves) and Buddhists. Anyway, there was a long stretch of time in my childhood where my mom didn’t go to Meeting, and I was searching for some kind of spiritual community to fill this need I had, these questions I had — so I went to the Presbyterian church down the street with a friend, and kind of got adopted into going there with her family. St. Giles, where I sing in Edinburgh, is also Presbyterian. But sometime in the past few years, I’ve really missed Quaker Meetings. And so I joined this society of young Friends, to socialize, and discuss, and generally hang out with. It’s pretty amazing. I love it already.

All meetings for learning are about growth in that territory of the self which touches on ultimate meanings, about those things which we feel the deepest, about our shadow as much as about our light, about our being deeply accepted and held in the group and not judged for being found wanting, about new community. Such meetings demand as much discipline as meetings for worship.

– Alec Davidson, Quaker Faith and Practice 2.82


The treasure I had found in meeting for worship seemed startlingly simple, and I held this treasure quietly to myself, exploring its significance, feeling it almost too good to be true. Part of its simplicity was that I and others were to start just where we were at the moment and proceed at our own pace from there. How blessed that there were no restraints to belief. The promptings of love and truth were the starting places and we could move at our own pace to recognize them as the leadings of God — the beyond which drew me and others on from our limitations and despairs and smallnesses.

– Ruth Fawell, 1987


It is a good night (eek — only 18%…)




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