February 15, 2005

Encountering my humanness

This past weekend, I found myself sinking into the Seed and came up against my humanity, my brokenness. I had made preparations to travel for a committee meeting for Friends General Conference but found myself too stressed to travel. In the end, I had a sort of "prayer weekend" for myself, in which I spent time considering what had tipped the scales into my staying behind.

Prior to deciding to stay home, I had gone through a period of weighing concerns for myself, laying those concerns aside, and listening for Divine Guidance as to whether or not I should travel. What I came to understand, though, is that Quakerism and spiritual discernment is an intersection of (at least) three things: God, the individual, and the faith community. And in my tiredness, in my despair, I had thought to consider myself and God, but I had overlooked the community--the committee to which I was to have traveled.

In that moment of awareness of not having weighed the place of community, I felt a tear in my heart, as if I had rent the fabric of something dear to me: I had not known until that moment that I had refused God in my decision to stay behind. This is at least what it felt like to me.

I recall that John Woolman and David Ferris had at different points in their lives either refused God's call or overran it. Afterwards, for a time, they were heavy with guilt and with the knowledge of what they had done (or hadn't, in David Ferris' case). Yet they stayed with their experience, went further inward, further into their life as best they could... and God graced them in their humanness and they were forgiven of having "missed the mark," of not being faithful to the Spirit. They were returned to know the love of their God and were again restored to a spiritual wholeness.

Thankfully, I too feel restored after "dwelling deep." Even in our brokenness, God is there.

1 comment:

Martin Kelley said...

This can be a tough call. Sometimes I find that decisions like these are also invitations to confront my own self-centeredness. If I feel like I have to be at a particular meeting to insure that it makes the "right" decision, then I've learned that I need to submit myself and trust that I am only an instrument. I'm sure the Spirit worked its intended effect at the committee meeting even without your presence, even as I'm sure your centered presence was missed!