Early spring is turning into the approach of summer. The days are palpably longer, now, and the trees outside my window are nearly fully leafed. The little cat watches the young birds learning to fly, quiet in her pool of sunlight on the windowsill.
Returning from Woodbrooke this last time has been interesting. So much was packed into a few days that I have been struggling to make sense of what has happened in me. A great deal has begun to make sense, though, and my sense that the work of eldership is at least as much prayer, and upholding the meeting and its ministries in prayer, as about anything else, has been deepened, confirmed and clarified.
My own uncertain steps on the path to the Light are coming to seem to me to be part of living within the Quaker community, rather than being a handicap or a symptom of error. I am coming to see that it is necessary to spend much of one’s life in a silence which covers over thought, and the acquisition of knowledge, and merely opens the heart to God as pure isness, without particulars or definition.
William Blake wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” We cannot understand God as one being among many. God is in all, and through all, and the underpinning and source of all that is or has been. To pray is to join God in the darkness of God’s infinite Light – the darkness of our own senses, which cannot perceive that which is beyond attributes. The mercy of God is God’s presence in love, that only silence and stillness beyond words and thinking can know as limitless light, and life.