Posts tagged ‘quaker’

friend forty-one.

friend forty-one, who i will refer to here as “anne brodzky,” is probably one of the sweetest and most thoughtful people on the planet. she’s the quaker woman who runs meridian art gallery with her husband. the art gallery has had amazing exhibits of social justice-related art and also offers internships for low income teens. the building is stunning and when i was trying to work up the motivation to run the young adult quaker group, she offered the space for some of our events. the space is gorgeous, with cozy spots for conversation.

friend forty-one and i met for a conversation at the gallery one morning, to discuss social justice, diversity within quakerism, racism, and all the other big things. i was struck by her energy, passion, and the amount of thought she’s put into all of these big topics. that was 3 or 4 years ago and most of our other conversations have involved me whizzing past her through the meetinghouse, too “busy” to talk again. but i’d like that to change.

December 12, 2011 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

friend thirty-nine.

friend thirty-nine! oh, friend thirty-nine! friend thirty-nine, “ann marie,” is a newish part of my quaker meeting, and my girlfriend and i both just absolutely adore her. she’s a mom with a great sense of humor, a ton of creativity, a calm demeanor, and a warm smile that makes me want to tell her all the time that her family and mine should become next door neighbors and we can all do art projects all the time.

November 8, 2011 at 12:46 am 2 comments

friend thirty-eight.

friend thirty-eight and i worked at the local quaker school together. i was in an office and she got to work with the kids. i was a little jealous of that and also a little awed by her tremendous joyful energy.

November 7, 2011 at 2:55 am Leave a comment

friend thirteen.

lucky thirteen, “alice,” is a woman from my quaker meeting. her laugh and smile always makes me think she is younger than she is, which is actually pretty common for me in my meeting and in san francisco in general.

she’s really really smart in a way that one could find intimidating if they wanted. she thinks hard and long about things, and her insights are always very rich. she’s also very kind and caring and that shows up hugely in her interactions with adults and kids.

one little crimp, though, in our relationship (and as i write this, i’m thinking about how it’s funny that i am about to discuss with her this crimp via an email in which i ask her permission to put it on the internet for all the world to see. oh, the times we live in!) has to do with what i think is our shynesses. early in both of our times coming to quaker meeting, we were attending some “worship sharing” sessions. (worship sharing is a quaker term for a specific form of conversation about spiritual matters. questions are posed and participants speak out of the silence, generally only speaking once to the question until all have spoken.) we were getting to know each other really well. one day, during quaker meeting, i came over and sat next to her. this was the first time i’d ever sat next to anyone. i’d had people sit next to me, but for some reason i viewed quaker meeting as something like a public bus (stephen colbert would understand) or a school cafeteria and that you shouldn’t sit next to people you didn’t arrive with until there were no other seats available. so, at the end of the meeting, we hugged, and i said, “don’t worry. i didn’t mean to sit next to you.” as soon as i said it, i realized the ridiculousness of the statement and my assumptions up until that point. and i saw it in her face, too. “i liked that you sat next to me,” she said, puzzled by why i was stating that it was accidental.

i am not sure i’ve ever completely recovered from that. she’s welcomed me and talked with me, and we’ve been on long car trips together, but i think i broke the burgeoning bond that day and have never known quite how to get it back. obviously, posting about it all over the internet will help things.

October 31, 2011 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

friend twenty-two.

quaker meetings in the u.s. tend to be mostly white. there are lots of ideas about why that might be, and i’ve written about it a little bit at my other blog, and mean to write more about it… always. when i first started going to the sf meeting, i really noticed the whiteness. traditionally i’ve not been very good at noticing the whiteness of places, because i’m white and it’s easy for me not to notice. my college was mostly white and it took me years to figure that out. but i moved to the bay area fresh from attempts at trying to raise consciousness around diversity in another primarily white environment, olympia. so when i got to the bay area, which is much less white than olympia or my college, and my faith community was so white, i was aware.

and concerned. and confused. and guilty. and with very few answers.

when i’m new somewhere, i spend a lot of time scoping out the lay of the land. i talk and i listen but i don’t act. sometimes i never act.

but then came friend twenty-two. as a young trans-racial adoptee, friend twenty-two had lots to say about the whiteness of the quaker meeting. she made a lot of us uncomfortable with her seeking questions, but in general, i found her perseverance refreshing. okay, sometimes i was annoyed because my comfort was being disrupted and my new chosen community was being looked at with a very critical eye. but it felt like what was needed, because i didn’t feel well-informed (about race or quakerism) or brave enough to be so vocal.

also, as a young person, friend twenty-two was figuring out a lot of things about herself, as we all are, and eventually she stopped coming to meeting. she was going to move away but if i’m correct, then there was a boy… and now, excitingly, there is a baby, too! i’m so excited about the baby and friend twenty-two and i speak about getting together. but this whole being a grown-up business makes it hard.

October 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm Leave a comment

friend twenty-eight.

for about a year, i was the reluctant coordinator of the young adult group for my quaker meeting. one of the perks was that i got to meet cool young adults and try to get them involved with our meeting. one of the downfalls was that i wasn’t great at organizing events or keeping people motivated. one of the people that always wanted to be involved, despite a busy lawyer schedule was friend twenty-eight, who i will refer to here as “amanda shepard.” she’s super smart, has an excellent sense of humor and a great laugh, and now that she’s moved away i’m seeing how politically fabulous she is, posting things about all of the wacky political shenanigans in her new home, arizona.

October 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

friend five.

this is my first post about a facebook “friend” who is not a person but an entity. i wasn’t sure if i wanted to include organizations, businesses, etc. in this project, but i’ve got such local business love that i decided it would be fun to write about all of my facebook friends, including the ones that are not just individuals. also, as i sit here waiting for friends one, two, and four to give permission to post about them, it’s nice to have these larger entities to write about because i can just hit “publish” instead of “save draft.”

friend five is “Afsc Sf,” the branch of the American Friends Service Committee that is located upstairs from the quaker meeting i belong to. when i first moved to the bay area and had tons of free time and lived close to the meetinghouse, i had grand plans to do all sorts of volunteering for the afsc. but i haven’t. once i went to a benefit dinner and sat at a table and listened to inspiring speeches about the work that the afsc did for japanese americans who were facing internment in the ’40’s. i’ve read emails and short blips about the work the afsc is doing. and once, recently, i walked into the afsc office to ask about the room numbers in the meetinghouse, which i should know by now.

i know real human beings who are vitally involved with the afsc, but i am not one of them. i support and admire these people, the afsc, and the work, but i don’t do the work. when people think of quakers as actually existing and doing good work today, they are thinking of the afsc. and if people think about the afsc when they think about quakers when i tell them i am a quaker, they probably associate me with the good work the afsc does. which means i should probably do more to live by that light…

one of the projects the afsc is working on that i’m interested in is their youth and militarism campaign. i feel too helpless in the face of all of the work the military does to recruit the bright shining youth around me, youth who do need strong supports, structure, and education. the afsc in san francisco also does work with homelessness, peacebuilding, the prison system, and the middle east. it’s an admirable organization that does a lot of the hard work that helps us quakers keep our good name. it’s also a little convoluted sometimes to figure out how to work with it, even if i am a quaker. funny how that is sometimes.

August 8, 2011 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment