Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with the amount of Quaker stuff in my life lately. The other day, I re-read the chapter in A Testament of Devotion on "The Simplification of Life" and this passage really spoke to me:
Much of our acceptance of multitudes of obligations is due to our inability to say No. We calculated that the task had to be done, and we saw no one ready to undertake it. We calculated the need, and then calculated our time, and decided maybe we could squeeze it in somewhere. But the decision was a heady decision, not made within the sanctuary of the soul. When we say Yes or No to calls for service on the basis of heady decisions, we have to give reasons, to ourselves and to others. But when we say Yes or No to calls on the basis of inner guidance and whispered promptings of encouragement from the Center of our life, or on the basis of a lack of any inward "rising" of that Life to encourages us in the call, we have no reason to give except onethe will of God as we discern it. (99-100)
When I read this, I recognized myself. Far too frequently, I agree to do things because it seems like I am the only one who can or will, but I know that is not the best use of my time or talents. I do intend to follow through with the commitments I have already made, but I feel clear that I should not take on any more.


  1. Amen indeed! I've found that when Friends take on tasks because they feel they should, or because they're the best to do it, their heart isn't in it. There isn't the freshness or creativity that one would hope for Quaker process. I've seen committees made up of guilt-heavy members that seem to spend all their energy trying not to do more than the bare minimum.

    I've found that it's often the "unimportant" things we do because we're immediately led to do them that end up being more important than all of the busy work that threatens to crowd our lives. I often think to the hurried rabbi in the Good Samaratan story who was too busy to help his neighbor.

    I need to reread Testiment of Devotion, it's been too long. That's one of those books to read every year!


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