Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why and how I am an isolated Quaker

My father's family was Quaker. My father remained a Quaker until his mental illness led him elsewhere. But long before that, I found my way to my father's faith and practice. I joined the Society of Friends at the age of 14 and have identified as a Friend ever since. I attended a Quaker school and even staggered to meeting almost regularly during college. After college I led my first and second loves into meeting with me, and those relationships shone in the meeting. My first love is still clerk of our meeting!

The first time I attended a yearly meeting, I felt enough light and grace to quit smoking. And I did. I have not lit up since April 4, 1980.

But in the 1980s I moved to an area with no meeting! I love living where I do, but there are a few drawbacks and being far from other Quakers is definitely one of them. It is a 3-hour round trip drive to attend a meeting, and I just don't feel right about the gas or the time it takes (mainly the gas).

I love visiting back East. It feels right to me. I feel a nearly physical envy of Quakers who can choose which meeting to attend because so many are available to them!

So... I subscribe to Friends' Journal. I donate to Quaker charities. I attend the region's quarterly meeting twice a year. I usually travel to at least one other meeting for worship each year. I try to be a one-woman peace and social concerns commitee. Our family observes grace for every dinner at home. I consider queries.

My greatest challenge is to bring up my daughter as a Quaker, without the benefit of a meeting. I would walk on my hands if that would help. I use the plain language with her some of the time (not so much any more.) I encourage her connection to Quaker kids in our quarter and her Quaker cousin peers. I hope to send her to a Quaker school.

I am finding lots of good Q stuff online and don't feel quite as isolated any more. But how I miss having a Meeting!

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