Posts tagged ‘quaker’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.