Our Collective Journal

June/July 2011

 

"I have often felt a motion of love to leave some hints

in writing of my experience of the goodness of God." 

--John Woolman  

 

Chapter 1

When did you first recognize the Light?

 

 

Mt. Angel Garden, Photo by Margaret Kellermann


 

Seeing the Light

When I was quite young, I asked my Mother if I could go to Church.

She said,” Sure, if you can find a ride.”

 

This was the beginning of my spiritual hitchhiking. My next door neighbors accommodated me, the wayward child of liberal agnostics; where they went, so went I. The first Church was Congregational with a boring Sunday School. Every week I was given the same picture of Jesus on a card or bookmark. I probably... [more]

 
 

Experiencing Godís Voice

A little more than 20 years ago, after spending all of my adult life trying to live the best way I could without letting God into my life, things were a real mess for me.  I was hurting the people I loved the most.  One night it all came crashing down, and I cried out to God, telling Him that I wanted to turn my life around, but I didn’t know how.  Expecting my pathetic... [more]

 
 

Light Within, Light Without, Light all Around

Words were new to me and God had no name. Light woke me up in the morning, and during nap time, the dust motes floated down a great pyramid of light, a host of ballerina fairies. In the kindly face of the moon, light followed me home from the movies, where light had danced stories onto the screen. Light came in from outdoors and enticed me to go see.

 

Out in the garden, light gathered around... [more]

 
 

Questioning My Way to the Light

When I was 18, I had a list of questions.  Although they seem a little silly to me now, these questions routinely provoked a passionate response from the self-identified Christians at my high school.  How did the sons of Adam and Eve find wives?  How could a wooden boat (built with bronze-age tools) sustain two of every creature on the planet?  Could God make a rock that is too heavy for God to lift?  Time... [more]

 
 

The Light in the Darkness

I was 5 years old, and I didn’t understand that my mother was dying.  I did know that something scary was hiding in our house, and I was afraid of things I hadn’t minded before, like the swans on the bathroom curtains and the gaping black hole of the closet doorway at night.  I was so frightened that my mother took the swans away at bath time and closed the closet curtain at bedtime.

 

On this... [more]

 
 

Seeing the Light Within Darkness

When did I first know the Light, as in the Light, or Presence, of God? Though I’ve been Quaker all my life, it took until I was over 50 years old to understand that my inability to see – or my unknowing of God as – the Light was not due to my living in evil darkness or in some fold of the Heavens that excluded me from all those others who were able to... [more]

 
 

Untitled

It was terrifying. I was 12 years old. In the mountains above Death Valley, walking back to the campsite with my sisters I experienced a sudden, involuntary shift of consciousness, as if everything in my life up to that point had been a languid dream and then instantaneously, I was thrust into the unbearable realness of the present moment. I tried to tell my parents but all I could think to say was “I feel... [more]

 
 

I Didnít See Fairies When I Was Young

I didn't see fairies when I was little, I had to learn to see them after I was grown. As a child I played in redwood groves and mudflats, feeling the pulsing life in the land. My friends and I pretended to be raccoons, pioneers and alligators in oak groves, meadows and creeks. We were as close to the grass and sky as snakes and gulls. I didn't need fairies to know the living presences... [more]

 
 

My Friend Jesus

When asked of my religious background, I often say I was raised by a pack of atheists.  I do this to distract people, to divert attention away.  I speak of my step-parents, who were raised as Catholics and hold residual anger from being forced to wear dogma that didn’t fit.  I mention my father, who says that he has heard brilliant people argue both for and against the existence of God and that both sides... [more]

 
 

When Did You First Recognize the Light?

Is this a trick question?  There should be a chronologically straightforward response here, right? 

 

It might have been the time the seven year old me, seething from the clearly oppressive wrath of parental domination, ran out into the woods behind our house.  Seeking any kindred spirit to pour out my woes, I was drawn to a solitary young conifer surrounded by the oak-beech-maple forest.  Under that canopy I found shelter, solace, I felt accompanied.  Was that... [more]

 
 

Life: More Than We Think

An experience at age five left me with a very clear understanding about life and the universe.  At the time I was very sick and ached so much it hurt to move.  Because of the polio epidemic my mother was really worried and a doctor actually came to our house.  I remember my mother crying when he told her that I did not have polio.  I remember that illness as different because I felt so... [more]

 
 

The Color of God

Growing up, art was something I was clearly bad at.  It wasn’t just the way that the art teachers pointedly ignored my work, or my close to failing grades.  It was the lost feeling I experienced in art class.  In writing, English, algebra or even public speaking classes, I knew what was required and it came naturally to me.  With art, I didn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing, never mind how to... [more]

 
 

 

Stories in this Chapter

 

Seeing the Light

 

Experiencing Godís Voice

 

Light Within, Light Without, Light all Around

 

Questioning My Way to the Light

 

The Light in the Darkness

 

Seeing the Light Within Darkness

 

Untitled

 

I Didnít See Fairies When I Was Young

 

My Friend Jesus

 

When Did You First Recognize the Light?

 

Life: More Than We Think

 

The Color of God