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The Value of Effort

Posted by admin on Aug 31, 2009 in Meeting News, Uncategorized

A Friend related that his neighbor lost her cat. This Friend was not at all fond of the cat, because it harassed the birds who came to his backyard feeder. Nevertheless, when the neighbor told him the cat was lost, he got in his truck and drove around the neighborhood looking for it. He realized, as he was driving, that even if he found the cat, he wouldn’t be able to retrieve it. He was sure the cat knew he didn’t like it, and certainly wouldn’t come when called. But he went on looking anyway, because his neighbor was upset and he wanted to help. Eventually he gave up. A couple of days later, his neighbor reported that she had found her cat. She thanked him and gave him a hug. He asked her what the hug was for and she said it was for trying. Often we lose sight of the fact that even when our efforts seem not to be fruitful, the effort itself is worth more than the achievement.

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The Least of My Children

Posted by admin on Aug 31, 2009 in Meeting News, Uncategorized

A Friend shared that “the least of my children” has been on his mind a lot lately, especially since it appears that one amongst our own community is homeless. What can one person do to make a difference? He found that he could at least give this homeless Friend some moral support and acknowledge his human dignity. The Friend said that he really doesn’t “like” homeless people, but when he thought about his feelings, he realized the thing he especially didn’t like was that the person was homeless. He pointed out that the most common reason for homelessness was a medical condition – perhaps an injury or an addiction that has been left untreated, or financial ruin brought about by the cost of treatment. Was there anything he could do about that? It seems a lot for one person to undertake, but the Friend was encouraged by remembering that even the biggest monsoon is made up of individual raindrops.

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Gardening and the spiritual life

Posted by admin on Jun 9, 2009 in Meeting News

A Friend related how his spiritual life is like his garden. He has been spending a lot of time in his garden lately, preparing the ground for planting. He finds that the spiritual life is like a garden in that most of the time and effort is involved in preparing the ground. And as with the garden, some things don’t grow well despite his best efforts. As with his spiritual life, he must discern what’s not growing well in the garden and take it out before it harms the healthy plants. And as with his spiritual life, he makes a lot of plans as to what he plant and where, but inevitably most of the seeds in his garden fall from the heavens. He has to determine which will grow into noxious weeds and which will be beneficial. So it is with the spiritual life. We have our disciplines, but much of what comes into our lives falls from the heavens.

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An impromptu memorial service

Posted by admin on Jun 8, 2009 in Meeting News

A Friend told of the death of a dear friend. He related how he tries to put the events of his life into a grander context, but as he has reflected on his friend’s untimely death, he has been at a loss to know what context to put it in. Certainly it illustrates how fragile we all are and how unpredictable are our relationships. He and this friend had been very close, many years ago, but in time they became geographically separated and lost contact for several years. More recently, they had re-established contact. He recounted that this friend was a thoroughly admirable person: intelligent, kind, great sense of humor, the most likable person you’d ever meet.

Ten days ago, he learned that his friend had committed suicide. He wondered about having a memorial service, in the manner of Friends. But the parents were very private people, and he knew they had to deal with this in their own way. And other friends were more inclined to put it behind them and move on. As the Friend spoke of his longing to have a memorial service for him, he realized that, in a weird way, that’s just what he was doing.

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A family tradition

Posted by admin on May 25, 2009 in Meeting News

A Friend recounted a Memorial Day tradition in her family. Her mother would place flowers on the gravesites of our departed family. After her mother had passed away, her brother and sister (who still live in the old neighborhood) carried on the tradition. This Friend expressed her gratitude to her relatives for giving so much, including the traditions of the extended family.

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Finding the Divine in the ordinary

Posted by admin on May 24, 2009 in Meeting News, Uncategorized

A Friend recalled a poem from college about an eggplant. The Divine is present even in the most ordinary things. Weeding the garden, washing the dishes . . . when we are engaged in even the most ordinary chores, we can be aware of the Divine presence through mindfulness.

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The privilege of centering

Posted by admin on May 23, 2009 in Meeting News, Uncategorized

A Friend recounted the Gospel story of Mary and Martha. Jesus is in the home of two sisters. One sister, Martha, is busy in the kitchen while the other sisterm Mary, sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to him. After some time, Martha comes out of the kitchen and asks Jesus whether her sister shouldn’t be helping her. Jesus replies that Martha worries about too many things, while Mary has chosen to do the one thing that’s most important. The Friend pointed out what a privilege we enjoy, having the opportunity to center down and focus on the one thing that’s most important.

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Love beyond the labels

Posted by admin on May 22, 2009 in Meeting News

A Friend related that she had just seen the movie “The Wrestler”. In it, an opponent shoots staples into his body with a staple gun. We allow people to staple labels on us, she said, and we work the rest of our lives taking the staples out. But here in Meeting, she said she felt as though she were “sitting in the lap of the Lord” who makes us feel loved no matter who we are or what labels have been hung on us.

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Missing the spiritual dimension

Posted by admin on May 20, 2009 in Meeting News

A Friend shared his conviction that he is a spiritual being having an earthly experience, rather than an earthly being having a spiritual experience. As such, he believes that every experience has a spiritual dimension. But often he finds that he is not paying enough attention to Spirit in each moment he is living, and therefore he often fails to embrace the spiritual dimension of his experiences.

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An important gift

Posted by admin on May 14, 2009 in Uncategorized

A Friend described her recent experience with her mother.

I recently helped my mother move from an assisted living facility to full time nursing care. Beyond the many tasks involved in helping her start this new stage in her life, it’s important to help her tend to her spiritual life as well. She is rooted in a strong Episcopalian faith with no fear of dying. She’s 88 and dealing with dementia. When I’m conversing with her I need to remember to remind her of her faith. What a gift it is to have such faith when facing death. I need to remember to look past the nuts and bolts and use the words that remind her of her faith.

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