Saturday, April 22, 2006

commitment and belonging

Don't worry you're not going to get an essay on the Swarthmoor Lecture done by British YFs back in the 90's with the same title! But having been around that process (admittedly on the edges - ie mainly reading about it in YQ having stopped going to YFCC just after we'd agreed to do it!) I suppose it isn't surprising that those words together spring easily to mind.

The last few weeks have been full of deep discussions, and some not so deep, around all kinds of commitment and belonging - within relationships, families, friendships, Quakers as a whole, Young Friends as a separate entity, work, wider society - you name it they all, and more, seem to have come up lately. What is and what makes up whanau/family? Where do our priorities lie? To what testimonies/ideals/beliefs/causes are we commited? To whom are we commited? Is there some strange conjunction of planets suddenly causing all this seeking and pondering (any ideas Jo?!), or are 'they' putting something in the water? There suddenly seems to be a lot more of it about that's for sure. Add to that an emotional rollercoaster of a fortnight, friends around I don't see anything like enough and want to make the most of being around and not enough sleep and you get the picture as to why there haven't been many postings of late!

As each person or group wrestles with a different aspect of it all it has been a good opportunity to revisit a lot of these issues and think again through what they mean to me now as opposed to when I last thought about it - and see how much some of my answers have changed - since the Triennial, since WGYF, since moving here... go back even further - since my marriage, since my student/active YF days in Britain... It's no wonder my brain hurts!

A lot of it seems to hinge on how we define and see ourselves, and until we can are clear about who we are individually it is hard to find out where we truly are in relationship to the rest of the world. Yet again I have found myself incredibly grateful for the opportunity to spend time working in an environment where hanging out with and hosting Quakers is part of the job! It gives time and space to not just work through these things but meet amazing people to share the process with. I didn't think I'd find myself back in the thick of YFs again that's for sure but I'm very glad I am - but thankfully with the benefit of experience - what's the song again? 'I wish that I'd known what I know now when I was younger'?!

Having the experience I have has come in mighty handy recently - helping individuals through rocky times and being able to support the YFs here establish a firmer identity and purpose. It has strengthened my commitment to being here and my sense of belonging (not that it was in danger of fading mind!). It has re-inforced my belief that everything in life can be learned from and can lead us forwards if we are prepared to take the risk.

Taking risks... that's a whole other posting I think, and probably one that'll have to wait a wee while. Too much spinning around on that one still.

2 comments:

flurble said...

Synchronicity is the word of the week, and meta-synchronicity when with "synchronicity" spinning around my head someone else used the word too ;-)

What is and what makes up whanau/family?

That's the same word as off lilo and stitch? "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.". Disney or no, that film makes me cry ;-)

So many people have assured me I'm family now.

Taking risks...

In so many ways. Living unafraid is my own meandering on the subject (as something I'd like, not something I do). Perfect love casts out fear chases the thoughts through my head. Bringing things back to love again :)
Letting go, too - but you already posted on that one.

(On which, have you read Mister God this is Anna? For there's a nice sort of metaphor there about keeping yourself "filled up" with yourself, and anything external you have an attachment to forming a "hole" of that shape in your heart--or centre, or whatever.)


(Just undigested scraps of thought... )

flurble said...

Blibble. it broke it.

Synchronicity is the word of the week, and meta-synchronicity when with "synchronicity" spinning around my head someone else used the word too ;-)

"What is and what makes up whanau/family?"

That's the same word as off lilo and stitch? "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.". Disney or no, that film makes me cry ;-)

So many people have assured me I'm family now.

"Taking risks..."

In so many ways. Living unafraid is my own meandering on the subject (as something I'd like, not something I do). "Perfect love casts out fear" chases the thoughts through my head. Bringing things back to love again :)
Letting go, too - but you already posted on that one.

(On which, have you read Mister God this is Anna? For there's a nice sort of metaphor there about keeping yourself "filled up" with yourself, and anything external you have an attachment to forming a "hole" of that shape in your heart--or centre, or whatever.)


(Just undigested scraps of thought... )