Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Moving Forward

To any Friends who still check this blog or who have stumbled upon it:

It's been about 8 months since I've posted anything at all on this blog. Since the time I started this blog and posted on it frequently I have gone through a lot and am in a very different place. I am still unsure about where I stand with the Quaker blog-o-sphere at this point, having had to distance myself from it as it (the Quaker blog-o-sphere) and my life exploded.

That said, I've decided to officially lay this blog down. I will certainly leave it up and check on it periodically, but I will not post on it any further. The good news is that I have started a new blog. I am not clear at this point about what I will post, how frequently I will post, or how much of other Quaker blogs I will read. I am clear that if I am to begin blogging again, I need a fresh start.

The new blog: That God

So, Friends, follow my blogging if you feel so led.

Love and Light,

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Strength in Weakness

Note: I wrote this post in late June, but for some reason or another did not publish it. In reviewing my blog as it is today (basically unchanged since May) I came upon it. It is time it is published. So on this 14th of September I post my previously unpublished post from June 20th, 2006:

Sometimes I feel as though I need to be profound here on this blog, particularly after such a long blog-absence. But I will be honest with you, Friends, that I really don't have a profound, simple message to post today. Today I found myself writing in my journal about strength. In true strength there is the ability to be weak, I wrote. What exactly does this mean?

Weakness, such as feeling hurt, upset, angry, or lacking enough will-power to do something difficult, or being afraid of something, is unavoidable in life. Thus, it is not just ok to have weakness, but it is a requirement of life. Ignoring or denying, resisting or fighting something so inevitable is unhealthy. I'm not saying that all weaknesses are healthy - things such as addiction or tendency to abuse are certainly NOT acceptable - but that we must acknowledge them before we can do anything about them. We must embrace our weaknesses and love ourselves through them, with them, as they are every bit a part of us as the skin on our bodies. In embracing our weaknesses we learn to love ourselves, we learn to love others, we learn compassion. It is grace. It takes true strength to allow ourselves to be imperfect, to love wholly, both the good and not-so-good in ourselves.

Perhaps this has been stated before. Perhaps it doesn't make as much sense to you reading this as it does to me as I write. I just felt a small nudge to share.

Love and Light,

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Oh right, I have a blog

Hello, dear blogging Friends,

It's been quite awhile since I've really been blogging - with what, only one post since February? This has been an unplanned, unintentional blog hiatus for me. It's likely to continue for a little while, too. I can't predict these things. I can't predict a lot of things.

A number of unpredictable, major events have occurred in my life in the last month and a half. (To think I was having a difficult semester before!) I'm not quite ready to blog about them (assuming I ever will - we'll see how I'm led) and apologize in advance for being vague, as all my energy right now is going toward staying calm, taking care of myself, and fighting through the rest of this academic semester. I have a lot to process and deal with, and am simultaneously trying to finish four difficult classes.

In the meantime, though, I want to send a message of love and hope out into the blog-o-sphere. Unimaginably difficult things can happen, and then one or two more could happen shortly thereafter, and it is still possible to get through without completely losing sight of the Light in the process. In fact, in some ways the Light is so much more strong in me right now, holding me up when begin to stumble over the fallen branches in my path.

So here I am, still going, still loving.

Love and Light,

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Free to be Lost

In the last month or two I've been dry in terms of posts. A few times I've thought about posting, perhaps with a fleeting idea of a potential post, but each time I've ended up either staring at the blank "create" screen thinking too hard about what to write, or just not even trying.

The thing is, I don't write posts for the sake of posting. I write posts because I have a message to give, or some form of ministry to share. More than once I've written an entire post, planning to publish it, but haven't felt that final, vital nudge to post - so I haven't posted. I don't even know where this post is going, but I'm going to follow it through.

I've been having a very rough semester. My classes have been more demanding than before, draining me of energy and free time. I even gave up my Saturdays to try and get things done - something I used to have a personal "policy" against. This usually leaves me feeling spiritually dry, out of touch. In the past I have felt very frustrated when spiritually unfocused, as if it's something that shouldn't happen and is bad. Isn't that natural, though? Of course being spiritually unfocused is bad - why do we strive to be in touch with God if not being in touch isn't bad?!

But you and I know that God never leaves us alone. I've known that, in my mind, for quite some time now, but what's kept me frustrated when feeling out of touch is my heart. I didn't feel God when out of touch because that's precisely what made me feel unfocused - not feeling like I felt God.

These last weeks of being spiritually unfocused, however, have been different. Something deep gave me the freedom to be unfocused. It is ok, Friend, to be lost sometimes. It is part of the spiritual process, even. So this time around, while unfocused and feeling lost, I haven't felt frustrated or guilty. Part of me is experiencing a period of patient, loving waiting. I am still connected.

A message in meeting a couple weeks ago spoke to this part of my experience. The part that struck me most was something to the effect of, "When we fall, there is God." Even when we stumble and fall down, when we are lost, unfocused, left behind, there too, is God. I feel lost, but know in my heart that I am still growing with God. I feel God even now.

This is the message I have to give after over a month of blog-silence. Even in writing we must be patient and listen, sometimes for great lengths. I thank you, Friends, for your patience with me. Things are a little rough on my end, these days.

Love and Light, as always,

Sunday, February 12, 2006

All the World Together

We can each listen deep, we can each strive to follow God on the deepest level we believe we are able, and sometimes even deeper. We can each have deeply transformative experiences, find our own testimonies to the world and then resign ourselves, content to think, "I am working so, so hard, doing all these good works and listening to God; I am a good person, and this is more than enough," leaving the matter at that.

But it is not enough to follow God just in our personal journeys. We are missing the deepest, most difficult calling if we stop there. We are called to suffer together. Together we must help each other build the Divine Community, and together we must enter into it. All our judgements of each other, of ourselves, big or small, all our blame, accusations, hatred, violence, toward friends and strangers alike, all of it tears at our foundation, shaking us further apart, further from God.

We cannot ignore it. We cannot remove ourselves from the crimes of our fellow humans. We are all responsible. We must all suffer together, leaving no one behind. No one in the world. This is what it means to truly love, and to truly live in the Power of the Spirit.

So look to your neighbors, friends and foes, and declare "You, too, are coming with me," for none of us will make it there alone.

Love and Light,

Monday, February 06, 2006

Saving the World by Coming Alive

What is my ministry to the world?

Everyone ministers to the world in some form or another, whether implicitly or explicitly. A somewhat well-known quotation comes to mind. It's perhaps cliche, but don't get hung up on that:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Harold Whitman

All of our activism - protests, donating to charity, writing to government officials, re-building neighborhoods; all of it - is a way of tending to the world. I need to point out that such activisim is not the only way of tending to the world.
Activism means nothing if it is done out of guilt or pity. True actions are sprung from the deepest call, and bring us only joy even through the hardships encountered. We act out of love and only love. When we "come alive" we are tending to the world. If such activism does not make us come alive, then we must re-examine what it is to which we are truly called, where the Spirit is leading us rather than guilt or some other outside obligation. No one should feel guilty if they are not called to drop everything and join the Peace Corps or go to a protest (or ten) or be active in a committee for some form of activism or another.

We all have different gifts, Friends, and we are meant to use them in different ways.

This is ministry to myself as much as anyone else. As a full time college student, it is easy for me to begin overthinking and feeling guilty, afraid that I am not properly tending to the world. I have a passion for chemistry - chemistry in its purist form has very little to do with peace and justice or politics. What good is it if I can prove that putting these two chemicals together under certain conditions produces some other chemical, right? Surely that can't be important in the real world. I even catch myself feeling guilty about wanting to do chemistry. If I'm not out in the field working with people who have so many hardships or rebuilding houses in broken down communities and am instead studying something about which I can be happy and excited, then I am selfish and not properly tending to the world, right?

Then, though, I remind myself that chemistry makes me come alive. Chemistry feels like a calling, one of the main directions in my life. And it's far from useless in the so-called real world. Then I remember that the research project I worked on this summer contributed to finding a faster way to diagnose a horrible autoimmune disease (Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Autoantibodies - ANCA). I remember that I'm applying to work this summer in a lab doing research about one of the biochemical causes of Type 2 Diabetes - and working toward making a better medication. There are people who are not necessarily being bombed who need help in our own back yard, and I have already worked - and am looking to continue working - to help them using the very thing that makes me come alive: chemistry. The most important message here, though, is that I first recognize and do what makes me come alive, where I am truly led, and after the fact I come up with reasoning about how it tends to the world. Truly living in the Spirit means listening first, and reasoning second.

While I cannot say that my ministry to the world is solely chemistry, I can say that part of how I minister to the world through chemistry. To take this even a step further, I minister to the world when I experience and share any form of joy (chemistry brings me joy, which I do share). I minister to the world when I am upset (ministry is not always fun). I minister to the world by being me, not who I think I should be, and by acting as I am called without feeling guilty about not saving the world in the most obvious way.

By listening to our inward callings and by being truly ourselves, we each do our part in saving the world.

Love and Light,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Words of Wisdom from Yoda

There are days when I catch myself taking myself too seriously. I start thinking too hard and overanalyzing, and many things I start trying to do just aren't good enough. It's sort of like trying so hard you can't. A quote from Yoda comes to mind, though: "No! Try not. Do or do not. There is no try." Perhaps I should quit trying to be grounded or focused, trying to listen; maybe all I need to do is let go, and just do.

Some of the times I am least centered are the times I'm trying my hardest to be.

Love and Light,

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