09 October 2006

Recognizing the Parched Soul

A few weeks ago, I started a new full-time job. My energy has been consumed by the job and parenting my four children, and I've had to scale back my Meeting activities.

I feel guilty about not being able to give as much as I would like to my Meeting. I'm concerned about letting down folks who have come to depend on me, and not living up to my dear Friends' needs and expectations.

On hearing of my need to put Outreach activities on the back burner, one Friend sent me a sweet personal email. She assured me of the rightness of doing what I needed to do to handle the stress in my life, and that Outreach would grind on even without my assistance. She also reminded me to come to Meeting for Worship even if I felt like I didn't have the time or energy, for it is surely at times like these that I need Meeting most.

I had just decided not to go to Meeting that Sunday. I was feeling exhausted, missing my children, and wanting to curl up under a blanket and knit and listen to my young ones. I didn't want to have to get up on yet another morning, make myself presentable, and drive to Meeting. I also didn't want to face the potential disappointment and disapproval of Friends who think I ought to be doing more.

When I made it to Meeting, I discovered that I was the only one who thought I should be doing more than I am. My Friends were all supportive of my need to care for myself and my family. They were, in fact, eager to support me through this transition in my life.

I realized again how much easier it is for me to give than to receive. I want so much to be of service. When I can't be, I have a hard time letting go of my expectations of myself and an even harder time accepting the help and support of others.

As I was getting ready for Meeting, I was thinking, "I don't want to go to Meeting today. I don't know what good it will do me. I have so much to do these days, and I don't see how sitting in silence and stillness is going to help me get them done."

Uh-huh, Heather, you've just demonstrated how much you need to worship. You're becoming so spiritually parched that you don't even recognize your own thirst. If you go on, you'll start doubting the existence of spirit, as well as your own need for it.

It was a lovely, soft, nurturing, and mostly silent Meeting. Two people got up to speak in appreciation for the light in the room provided by the new windows. I sat in worship and allowed myself to receive. By the end of the Meeting, I had transformed from a spiritually dessicated being into a spiritual fish. I was swimming in the Well, totally refreshed by the communion that God showered on our Meeting. I felt connected to distant Friends as well as the ones sitting in the room with me.


Liz Opp said...

Thank goodness that Friends don't let Friends stray too far from the Light... or from worship, for that matter.

I'm glad you were able to open yourself and receive the Love that is always there for us to soak up. And that a Friend was able to recognize your own parched soul and help guide you back to the Living Waters...

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Rebecca Sullivan said...


I hope that you can also recognize when meeting at the meeting house is to much.

Two weeks ago I realized that I was not supposed to worship with others but take some time for myself and worship in a different form called running. There is more than one way to worship and that is another valuable leason that poeple need to learn. One should look of the signs of not going often enough but making the comitment of worship balanced with the rest of our lives.