Sunday, April 30, 2006

spinning thoughts into threads

I've been wanting to write a post for days but too much has been spinning round and none of it came up as anything other than an endless ramble when I tried to put it on paper! Not entirely sure this is any more coherent but you're getting it anyway...

Mair's post on work and lifestyle brings up many issues for me - especially as we're currently reviewing my position here - fingers crossed MM will approve next week me staying on until April rather than just October. Partly it raises issues about 'what next?' come April but that is hardly urgent yet, but more about the nature of this 'job' and how the "the important things in life, such as seeing people, and ... well, seeing people" aspects of this work are by far the most rewarding and the last few weeks have been an amazing example of that. It is amazing in many ways that spending time enabling the strengthening of the YF community here within Aotearoa, and more specifically Welly, can be counted as part of my 'ministry' here, my 'mission' for which I have the visa. I am sure there are those within the Meeting who don't see it that way and think that cleaning and gardening should come first and if I've time then do the rest - especially when I get so distracted by it, but you can't please everyone all the time.

Amidst a lengthy phonecall yesterday Sarah and I touched upon (amongst a miriad of other things!) how you never usually know in what ways you change or influence people's lives. Mostly that's fine and not a big deal, but sometimes you'd actually quite like a bit of feedback. Letting go of that sense of 'need to know' is a hard one as is accepting that it usually isn't 'need' but 'want'. Phrases like 'being in tune with the world's needs', 'doing what god wants' (pick your own spelling, gender, capitalisation, anthropomorphism (or lack of) etc...), 'acting from Love' - not to mention Wm Penn's 'Let us then try what Love can do' (just for a change!) keep popping up for me. Surely a sense of doing that should be enough? Why do we seek reassurance from people that we're doing the 'right' thing rather than from god/spirit/whatever? Because we are human and not god/spirit...?!?

The Affirmation Sheets (Rosy Glows!) we all got at YF Camp (well, that were all written - some still seem to be awol - anyone seen Marion's or Bridie's?!) are one way of finding out some of the unexpected ways we touch people's lives as well as some of the more expected. But life outwith events like YF Camp, NYFSG etc doesn't tend to have Rosy Glows. The kind of friendships where it is easy to express fully what each other means to one another without either squirming with embarrassment are wonderful but rare. We often have to rely on 2nd or 3rd hand feedback to find that a comment you made, quote shared or whatever has been important to someone.

Bridie commented after Meeting today that many of us have been searching recently for clarity about various aspects of our lives and in the last couple of weeks or so found it or at least made big progress on it. YF Camp has probably been a catalyst for much of that in that it gave time, space and intimacy to share so much whilst there and over the week or so that has followed as so many of us have managed to eek out that community to the max. But it can't all be put down to YF Camp, especially as not everyone was there! More synchronicity? Or just more sharing within our wider (Quaker) community?

1 comment:

Pete said...

There are few absolutes in the world, but one of them is that meeting and interacting with people is always more important than doing the weeding. You can tell this by the way "people" turn into friends, and also by the height of the weeds in my garden. You hardly ever know the magnitude of the impact you have on the lives of other people, but it's not wrong to need or want that feedback. However in my experience, the feedback will come when you least expect it, when you most need it, and will be way more far-reaching than you'd imagined (especially given the relatively small effort it took to engage the other person instead of mowing the lawn.)