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Showing posts from April, 2010

Where Will You Spend ETERNITY?

I may have mentioned that my drive to work and back is unusually beautiful. I drive past three different waterfalls, five working farms, and past a parade of old stone walls, apple trees, and white clapboard houses. It is eye candy.

It is also the beginning of serious countryside. And one thing about rural America: it takes its religion seriously.

Near the end of my morning drive, or the beginning of my evening commute, there is one particular ranch house that works hard to make sure everyone who drives past understands how seriously everyone inside that house takes religion. They have one of those signs, one of those semi-professional ones, that can be changed to show a different Christian slogan every month or two.

Perhaps because my drive is my best reflection time, I not only read the sign, I read it and think about it, too.

Lately, the sign reads, in one direction, "Jesus will give you REST," which I actually try not to focus on, because I read that side on my way i…

Prodigal April

It's the last day of my April vacation, and I've got the blues. There's always so much more to be done than there is time to do it in.

This week has been full of outdoor things. Peter and I planted a small orchard--eight semi-dwarf apple trees, in holes dug with friends, and with expertise borrowed from friends. One of the two perennial beds has been weeded; heaps of brush and dead branches have been hacked up and removed. The big hemlock tree is being treated for wooly adelgids, and the arborist thinks we can save it; I've notified the Girl Scouts next door that one of their trees is infested, too, and given them the contact information for the arborist.

I walked in the woods with friends who love forests, and learned new ways to care for blight-affected American chestnut stump-sprouts. My daughter and her friends went walking in the woods, and together we cut back some of the invasive Japanese Knotweed that's back there. And I took a few long walks of my ow…

A Dream

How truthful are dreams, I wonder? How much are they flattery, and how much are they our waking selves, writ small?

I dreamed last night I was in a war; I believe it was the WWII. Somehow, I'd been drafted, and I was being shipped to an army camp of some sort. After a while, I looked down at the rifle in my hands, puzzled.

"Wait--" I thought. "This can't be right. I'm a Quaker. I don't fight."

And they came and they gathered up those of us who said we wouldn't fight, and told us to stand in a circle in the middle of the troop of soldiers, and they trained their guns on us, and asked us if we still insisted that we could not fight, and we said yes.

I didn't think they would actually kill us--I thought there was some rule, even in my dream, that Quakers did not have to fight--but I wasn't sure. I wasn't very afraid, and I didn't want to die, but it seemed possible.

And then the soldiers fired at us, but they fired blanks, and the…

Peter asks, “By what name?”

This is Peter writing, for the first time in much too long.

Quaker meeting was good for me today, and it’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that. For months now (maybe even years) meeting has been about trying to tune out the incessant internal chatter of my own brain, or about trying to sit comfortably on benches that are about four inches too low, or (most debilitatingly of all) about struggling to stay awake.

But today, although I can’t say whether or not the whole meeting felt covered, I know I felt covered. A Pagan might say “cloaked,” and a better word than either might be “embraced,” though that also doesn’t quite convey the experience. My wife, when I protested that I had no words to tell her what it was like, told me to go ahead and tell her anyway, so I came up behind her and placed one hand over her heart and the other over the space between her shoulder blades and pressed gently, and she nodded and said, “Oh, that. Yes, it’s good when it’s like that.”

And on the w…