I have been umming and aahing over this for a matter of years – for the subject at hand is a commitment. I am always hesitant of nailing my colours to a mast, so to speak, in case I put all my eggs in one basket and the organisation changes direction, veering off course to my preference. However, today I attended Friends Meeting House in Harrogate for the first time since 2009.
In this blog post, I would like to explain my thinking behind the act – more to clear my head than any outward expression of boastfulness. A recap of a pre-meditated action.
As stated in the previous posts within the Quaker Diaries category of my blog, I have had leanings towards the group, but I have not set foot in Friends Meeting House for years. Would I be welcome? Would it have changed?
In these turbulent times, I wanted to stand for something – other than stand against everything I see happening around me. With crackdowns on Civil Liberties, Human Rights and a growing arms race – I did want to nail my colours to a mast. But why Quakers? Why The Religous Society of Friends? As a democratic group of pacifists, it was something that I wanted to be part of – a small cog in a big wheel. A greater whole to get behind and speak for me on an international level. A sense of belonging.
There was a quiet joy in the silence of the gathered – I felt peaceful, despite cravings for my vapouriser. I admit I did not attend out of obligation to a Bronze Age Sky God. I attended to express myself to the fullest – to live life adventurously. However, this is an adventure – I know I will not make every meeting in the future, due to health or work commitments. But it is nice to know that there is a group of pacificists just up the road who I had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with.
But what about the Spirituality? Was this the first step on the path to Jungian completion or a foolhardy leap into a metaphysical unknown? I have had a bad run with faith – I will leave that there – but with my impression of the Quakers is that there was a more accepting attitude towards the participants of the gathering, and of life in general. I was not told off for being me. In the quiet worship, there was no shoe-horning of fitting myself into somebody else’s belief system. I felt accepted.