I was curious. For reasons of heritage and for reasons of diverse things over many years, it has been in my mind that someday I would learn about Quakers. And not the ones I have heard the most about the last few years, that from all accounts sound like just another church. You know, Quakers. Those people who sit in silence.
I had to wonder, first, if there were even any of those kind around. Well, thanks to living in the age clickky-click information, that was easy to find out. Hey look, practically right down the street from me. Do some reading, and what I read sounds so much like how I think, how I have experienced God, who I am.
But I have learned not to trust what a religion says about itself. So I took myself most cautiously to meeting. And the silence filled me in a wondrous way. There in a room in an office building near the airport, with mostly a bunch of old white people, I felt welcomed. More than that, I felt accepted but no pressure to be anything but me. No pressure to accept, or believe, just a polite request to respect the quiet.
And I have been going back for a few weeks now. And what they all agree on are things I already thought or believed. And when they discuss differing opinions, they do it gently, they really listen to each other, and accept each other even if they do not agree. As someone said today, they are a peculiar people. It just so happens that they ways they are peculiar are the ways I am peculiar.
So have I found my next spiritual path, a heart's home? I don't know. I asked God, and this was the answer I sensed "I didn't say to plant yourself here, I just said there were things you could learn from them." I understand the dynamics of coming into a new group, and if it all looks really shiny and nice right now, well, I've been down that road before and I really appreciate not feeling like I have to know right now.
So, I guess I'll be hanging out with Quakers for a while and learning about silence, simplicity, and peace. I don't have to change, make a huge commitment, a declaration, or anything else. They will still sit with me, take my hand, call me friend, listen when I feel I have something to say.
In the range of my experience, that is peculiar, and not a bad place to be.