A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook something I had written about 5 weeks earlier. In some respects it was intensely personal, but I always try to keep a message in what I write that might help even one person. But, I didn’t post it, I kind of lost courage, I thought, “do people really need … or want … to hear something from me? It was Christmas, I should just try to maintain the Xmas rage of joy and happiness instead of going on about how it might be difficult for some people.”
So, I didn’t post it. And for some reason I started to go into a slump. My energy started to drain, I felt exhausted, I felt directionless and vague about what my purpose is.
And then, in one day, two friends told me things about their own lives that I know I talked about in the piece I had written before Christmas. Each of these friends were grieving their own losses in the weeks leading up to the festive season; one the loss of her beloved life partner, the other, the loss of a newly created life that would not be born. And I realised that the words I had written weeks before might have helped in their lives. And I wondered, why did I not post what I had written?
I didn’t post it because I was scared. Because I felt inadequate. Because I didn’t want to be seen. Because I didn’t want to bring anyone down before Xmas like I was already feeling down.
Because. Because. Because.
For just on two years I have been attending a weekly healing meditation with a small group of Quaker women. Thanks to Covid, we now meet on zoom. Earlier in my life I trained as a clergy person, a minister, and having attended church for many years I know that the structure of a church service is that the minister, or nominated lay-person, leads it, and delivers the sermon. In Quakers there are no ministers, no one leads the meeting, one person does not preach. The people who come together at weekly meetings, or in the healing group I sit with, do so silently. They sit, and they wait for Spirit to lead them to speak. Nothing woo-hoo. There is no channeling, no vague spirits that waft through wanting to be heard, no messages from beyond. Just the everyday word of G*d/Spirit/Source, asking to be spoken … through ordinary human beings.
I remember the last time I led a church service before I left the church for good. As I gave the sermon I wondered how many times I would be able to convey every week and in every sermon that, in Christian terms, “God is Love”, really the ultimate spiritual message when life is good, bad or indifferent. How can that be said, over and over, time and time again, before it gets old, or boring?
When I realised that the piece I had written could have been of help to two people I understood that that is how people can know “God is Love”. It is through the ordinary, through a voice of hope, or kindness, of meeting people in their pain, something, anything that has meaning in our situation. It happens through us opening to Spirit in the ordinary, whether it is sitting quietly and silently with likeminded people, or as we are out and about in the world.
Whatever it is that any of us is meant to do, to contribute in this life, whether as artist, as writer, as scientist, in politics, working on the land or building bridges, bringing up children or teaching them … whatever … whether we think it is big or small … if we don’t do it, so much can get blocked, not in others … others will find what they need to hear if they keep looking, but blocked, in us. And sometimes doing what we are “called” to contribute means stepping up, losing the fear that has kept us immobile, taking a risk and putting ourselves out there. For many years I have grieved the loss of the career I had been called to, to be a minister, though I know the church was not the right forum for me. We can be assured though, the right forum presents itself when we are ready.