24 August 2007

My Life as a Spiritual Clam

A couple of weeks ago, a Friend called to ask if I could close Meeting. I agreed, put on my wristwatch, packed up my family, and arrived at Meeting feeling prepared for whatever the day might bring.

A Friend spoke about her struggle to remain open to God. She talked about how she could open herself to God and walk a short way along her path open to God, but then she closed up again.

As she spoke, the words "happy as a clam at high tide" sang through my brain. In a flash, I saw a great insight into my own spiritual nature.

I am a spiritual clam. I open at high tide to receive God's wisdom, and then close at low tide to digest my blessings.

There's nothing wrong with being a spiritual clam. I might rather be a spiritual eagle or redwood tree, but God in his wisdom made me a clam. Early Quakers encouraged us to be lowly, to walk humbly. Clams are lowly, and they drag their single feet through the tidal mud. Clams are patient; clams move slowly; clams know how to wait in silence. When the time is right, they open to the sea. When the time is not right, they close up and wait.

In the high tide of Meeting for worship, I opened up and received the blessings God showered on me.

I forgot utterly that I was supposed to close Meeting, that I was wearing a wristwatch, that there might be people in Meeting who had other things to do on a fine summer First Day. We'd run ten minutes and two messages late before God shook my shoulder and said, "You're supposed to close Meeting, Heather."

I shook hands with the Friends around me and said, "Good morning."

When I stood to go through the post-Meeting wrap-up, I said, "Well, Friends, this morning I remembered to wear my watch, but I forgot to look at it. Despite my best efforts, we're running on God's time again this morning."

Even though we were running late, I was prompted to ask for after thoughts, those messages that didn't quite rise to the level of ministry. Two Friends shared rich tidbits, and my spiritual clam took them in.

There were no visitors (an unusual occurence, especially in the summer time), so I was able to skip many of the closing items. We only had a few short announcements. Despite our late break from worship, Meeting rose earlier than it usually does.

The clam closed and went to work on digestion.


Julie Hilton Steele said...

Absolutely love the picture of being a "spiritual clam." Thanks for giving me this image to meditate upon.

Peace, Julie
http://wwwbackyardhermit.blogspot. com/

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Thank you Heather.

This spoke to me.

QuakerDave said...

There are times at my meeting when I wish NONE of us wore watches...

Thanks for this.

Claire said...

This is beautiful and made me smile. Thank you for sharing!