This post might better be titled a “forethought” that precedes a future essay about “ways of belonging among Quakers.” That was the theme of last weekend’s Spring gathering of Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting. Quakers from Washington and Northwest Idaho met, as we do twice a year, at a retreat center in the Manastash Canyon near Ellensburg, WA. Outside my cabin door, the creek burbled, and the sunrise backlit the ridge above the camp.
I’m still reflecting on the sharing about what brought us to Quakerism, what keeps us in this faith tradition, and the wide variety of ways that people experience a sense of belonging. A thread that ran through many experiences, though, was summed up by one Friend’s examination of the word belonging. He broke that single word into two—be longing—and suggested that at the heart of the spiritual search is a deep longing to be part of a community. It was good to be among people whose yearning is met among Quakers.
Beginning in January 2012, I instituted posting an “Afterthought” on the last day of each month, fashioned after a practice in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, some groups continue in silence for a few more minutes during which members are invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning's worship. I’ve adopted the form here for brief reflections on headlines, quotes, comments overheard, maybe even bumper stickers.