This morning I told myself that I was going to put behind me all the worries I had and start enjoying myself. I went down to breakfast and there were several of us, which was very pleasant. I was delighted to be able to arrange a lift into the campus, as my back was really bothering me, even though I had taken painkillers.
We joined Meeting in session and listened with interest to Meeting for Sufferings report. There were three projects which we heard about (as examples). The Friends of the Family project works with families in deprived circumstances, and the work they were fascinating, but the one that really engaged me was the one that works with asylum seekers.
Whilst in silent worship today I was suddenly aware of joy in being with so many Quakers. The thought that came into my head was that I was en-JOY-ing myself, and perhaps that was OK. Meeting is a source of joy and joy is so powerful.
Next was the forum discussion group. I had been looking forward to meeting people that I had spoken to on the forum, and I have already spoken to Kath, Peter and Tone, but had not met Alice or Jo. Both were there today and it was truly delightful to meet them and also Alice’s daughter, who played hide and seek with my chocolate bar. (a lovely child!) I think Alice was mortified, but I really had forgotten how inquisitive children are at that age.
We really need some seasoned Friends to use the forum, in order for the forum to reflect a more Quakerly viewpoint and this was one of the key points that came out at the forum discussion group.
The committed relationships session had six members relating the stories of their relationships, and I found myself appalled that we as Quakers have not challenged the fact that same-sex couples do not have the same right to enjoy a religious ceremony as part of their wedding that opposite sex pairings do.
What seems to me to be far worse is that we do not record the commitment ceremonies as weddings in our documentation. This is disgraceful. It is both dishonest and unequal – two testimonies broken at once!
I had intended to meet Jo for tea but the break did not really happen so I stayed on until the response group – and took part in that.
I think Anne would be surprised to find me so silent – I am not speaking much in the discussions, and have no intention (unless led, but I doubt I will be) to minister. I am in listening mode.
After home group I wandered back to base and started to cook. Kath said she would eat pasta and so I prepared to cook. Majk came in with some veg and we had a meal fit for Quakers with gooseberries and yoghurt for afters. Wonderful. I am so happy, not just that I am not eating alone, but that I can share time with such lovely Friends.
I made the decision to drive to the hall tonight – I didn’t think I could cope with walking. I was looking forward to the Swarthmore lecture, I was pleased to hear that Peter had been a member of Blackpool meeting – I must ask if anyone knew him. One of my housemates fell asleep – we are all tired it seem s- during the lecture, and I was finding it difficult to concentrate due to my backache, which was causing my leg to twitch alarmingly.
I have found myself sauntering along today, doing things leisurely, and getting much more out of everything, instead of rushing as I did yesterday. I wandered round the bookshop, bought a fairtrade bar of choccy to replace the one that Alice’s ‘Friendling’ found and devoured and then saw Sally from Morecambe, so went and had a hug and chat with her. I am en-JOY-ing myself, going where them Spirit leads. I am so much happier.
good night, sleep in Light.