04 February 2007

Growing in the Light

Today, my 18-year-old daughter (who will probably also blog about this) was welcomed into membership in Santa Cruz Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

In recent months, I have been grateful for the presence of Friends in her life. Her membership clearness committee has agreed to act as a vocational clearness committee for her as she grapples with her future. It eases my mind to know that she has such wise and supportive counsel to help her discover her path in life.

The members of the Meeting welcomed her with great joy (and a beautiful chocolate cake). At one point, I looked around the fellowship hall and saw each of my four children deep in conversation with an adult Friend. I thought how fortunate they are to be nurtured by the richness of our Quaker community, and how the support of adult Friends is helping them all grow into the Light.

In December, my 11-year-old son told me that most people don't know why we celebrate Christmas.

"And why do you think we celebrate Christmas?" I asked him.

"It's because of the life and the teachings of the man whose birth we celebrate," he said.

I thought about that for a while. I was struck by the word "teachings," and what that indicates about my son's understanding of Christianity. I was also struck by the fact that my son thought that he was sharing a bit of esoteric knowledge with me. He didn't see a connection between the secular celebration of Christmas and the life and teachings of Jesus. He imagined that most people don't realize that Christmas has anything to do with Christ.

When we were at the grocery store recently, my 7-year-old noticed that there were macaroni in the shape of peace signs and asked to try them. When he was unloading the groceries at the check-out stand, he told the checker, "In case you were wondering, I'm a Quaker."

Our Meetinghouse sports a peace sign. My son figured that the peace sign is a religious symbol like a cross or a star of David. He interprets every peace sign he sees as an emblem of Quakerism. For a brief second, I saw through his eyes and I was dazzled.


Liz Opp said...

What a beautiful, simple post. Thanks for letting me peek into your family's Quaker life a bit.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Chris M. said...

Oh, yes, I agree with Liz: Thanks for sharing this story of blessings. I love the image of the peace sign as the religious symbol of Quakerism, even though it's not a proper Quakerly concept.

-- Chris M.

Heather Madrone said...

Thank you both for your sweet comments. They mean a lot to me.

My 7-year-old is not exactly a proper Quaker. He's a direct and energetic little person, and he's just now accepting that violence is not a great solution to many of life's problems.


Stefaneener said...

Oh -- your children are growing so fast -- I know, I know, other people's children always grow faster. What sweetness. Adult support is one of the reasons I attend the church I do. . . it's important to me that there are people who have loved my children since birth, and who look at them with a much longer perspective than I am sometimes able to do.