A meaningful conversation with a Friend over the weekend has confirmed for me that perhaps, yes, I am a Quaker. It was her fire and anger that showed me the way to move into this identity more fully, to know that Friends can handle and need that fire in their meetings, in their processes, in and among them like so much kindling. By hearing of her anger at injustice among Friends, her visiting another faith in hopes of more integrity, something just sunk in that a mentor shared with me 13 years ago. We were discussing whether or not I could, as a christian, be part of the Unitarian Universalist church. She said, "Deciding on a denomination is about deciding where you want to struggle, because no religious home is ideal."
Friends speak of an Inner Light, but until I saw the fire of my Friend's anger, I did not believe that the light could be a fire. I'm not sure why it was her anger and expression of betrayal that got me, but it did. You might think that contradictory, but the truth is that I knew, even with her rage and seeking to move faiths, that this Friend is truly a Quaker, truly fired by the Spirit, in a way that I had not seen, had not let myself feel so keenly.
With this knowledge, I am sitting with the diversity of the gifts of the Spirit, and how to best hold the possibilities. Last night, in gathered worship around the words of Walt Whitman, the refrain from the film Fame would not stop playing in my head-- I Sing the Body Electric, I celebrate the Me yet to come, I toast to my own reunion, when I become one with the sun! And we look back on Venus, we look back on Mars, and we burn with the fire of ten million stars, and in time, and in time, we will all be stars.
Sometimes it feels like holding the Spirit's working in my life risks the explosion of the celestial. Sometimes it feels like chalk in my mouth. Sometimes it feels like thick sludge. But regardless of the felt sense, whatever this templebody is telling me, the Sprit is always there-- nameless, named, infinite and specific. This journey to Friends and the felt sense of the fire of Spirit is a long one, and I am grateful that I am taking one more step towards the home where, and the people with whom, I can struggle.