Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Taking the Time: Praying and letting ideas and calls settle
I am not a patient person. This is interesting because those times in my life when I have been forced or forced myself to be patient the outcome as proven to be well worth the irritation I experience. Next to my bed I keep a small stone slab on which the word “patience” is inscribed to remind me to try to be patient with myself and others, throughout my day. When I get an idea I want to act on it immediately, the very day sometimes the very minute, I think of it. However looking back over the course of time that I have been slowly called to ministry through writing I realize that sometimes it is good to let an idea age slightly. I first was drawn to communicate with other Friends through writing the summer before I came to college. However I was working that summer and packing to move from New York to Indiana, so instead of writing I contented myself with having long and heated talks with my mother and sister about issues of theology and Quakerism. Later that year again I was drawn to writing but my schoolwork always seemed to get in the way. Finally a year and a half year after I initially became interested in writing about Quakerism, I attended a Powell House workshop on writing, that weekend I started writing an article about Quakerism and the idea of Blessed Community, and I haven’t stopped since. My point is however I seriously doubt I would have had the power or strength of calling in my work if I had started writing my senior year. First because I would have had to interrupt my writing to transition into college life, but more importantly because at that time I had just become a full member of my meeting and my personal journey through faith was still in an experimental stage. Looking back now I see how critical it was for me to have debates with other about Quakerism, to read as may Friends Journals as I could find, to re-look at some of the Christian and Quaker theology and mysticism I hadn’t studied for a while, and to spend the summer of my freshman year reading and re-reading the Bible and coming to personal understandings about parts of it. When I first was called to write I was not spiritually certain enough to do so, however my strong calling forced me to take my own spiritual and theological beliefs seriously and learn to articulate them to others I am by no means done this work of personally discovery and probably never will be but when I did start writing I was at a place where that was spiritually possible for me. When I am called next to take action within the Religious Society of Friends I will endeavor to take a step back and give the calling a little prayer and time to mature. After all, all time is God’s and we must trust she will lead us to where we need to be in the end.