18.9.05

Out of the silence

Today at Meeting there were three Messages that really spoke to me. I'd debated going at all, preferring to read God Among the Shakers, but I'm really glad I went.

Message One was from a Friend that was feeling overburdened. She'd started to feel guilty about not doing as much as she'd done previously, but those things were for others and she was putting them aside to do things for herself. Not in a selfish or self-centered way, but things like finding the time to quietly sit and watch the sunset or read. Things that help heal us and make us whole, yet can make us feel that we're wasting time not doing the "important" work that society or friends demand of us.

Message Two was from a Friend with vision problems. She'd recently seen a video about three artists, the final one being a Japanese artist with a clearly defined linear style. This Friend had always thought that was how she saw things: clear, precise. Yet that was only with her right eye, and when she closed it and looked only through her left, things were more like a Jackson Pollack, only vaguer. This troubled her not just because it was a physical problem but because it made her question how her mind also saw things. Was it clear, or vague? She encouraged us to only go with the clear, the defined, the strong.

I thought about that in the ensuing silence. One charge against me by a good friend is that I'm too inclined to see things in black and white, with no grey. I believe that I see too many shades of grey, but that I search for the black and white. At home, in the silence of my cottage, after a long day at work, the grey closes in: was that the right choice? were my directions clear? are my staff following? did the students learn anything? Trusting that I'll find the clear, direct path in life means trusting that God will help me find it. I try to be there, to listen, but sometimes....

And Message Three was from a Friend who reminded us that this is exactly what the silence each First Day is about: listening to the Inner Light guiding us towards the clear and direct. There is always time to stop and listen, we just have to choose to do so.

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