Our Collective Journal

October/November 2013

 

"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 15

When have you experienced the Light

through a member of your family?

 

 

Prodigal Son IV (Luke 15:11-32), mixed media by Cody F. Miller

http://www.codyfmiller.com/


 

Finding the Light in Hospitality

My family has shown me the Light through their hospitality.  When my grandparents were young adults, they hosted a weekly event at First Friends Meeting.  It was called “Friday Nights."   I think this happened in the late 1930’s. Grandpa would drive around the neighborhood and fill up his car with as many as 13 children.  Other children walked to the meetinghouse.  My grandma always provided snacks.  My grandpa taught wood shop during the... [more]

 
 

Young Friend's Story

Query: When did your family, or a neighbor, or a teacher help you see something special about yourself or the world around you?
 

My substitute teacher made me feel good about my birthday.  She was really nice to us.  She gave me a birthday pencil, she complimented my necklace, and she let everybody count the apples on my shirt and have a look at them.

 

You and daddy made me feel good about my birthday because... [more]

 
 

Kate

"If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Mt. 21:22

 

I have learned more from Kate about compassion and empathy than from all of the books, theology, teaching and wise counsel yet received. Kate is my 27-year-old niece who happens to have Downs Syndrome.  With a ready smile, a twinkle in her eye and a good word for all, she is a walking sunbeam who radiates love and Light wherever she goes. ... [more]

 
 

Night Light

Our room was shaped like an L — my sister Kathy’s bed at one end and mine at the other.  Four years stretched between us. Sometimes it was a small stretch, like our room. At other times, those four years were like a continent. In the dark, when I was very young, it was both.

 

I often greeted “lights-out” with fear.  It was such a lonely time and my loneliness would become fear and... [more]

 
 

Held

When I was growing up, my grandmother practiced a very different faith tradition than the one I was raised in.  It seemed alien to me, and parts of it were even disturbing.  She once told me a story, however, that very much informed my ideas about prayer and intercession and God "hearing" us.   A few years ago I told her what an impact the story had made on me and she didn't even remember... [more]

 
 

She is My Light

I cried in the car recently.  As everyone knows, cars have a no-crying-allowed rule.

 

My daughter has an ongoing tantrum problem, and we’ve been at wit’s end trying to figure out how to stop them, or at least shorten them.  So when Taylor told me she found something that helps her calm down, I was thrilled!  She turned on the Ipad, and played an Alicia Keys song called “Never Felt This Way”.  The song is about... [more]

 
 

Against the Tide of Cruelty

At some point in our childhood the painting of the farmer and his wife giving thanks in a field of freshly dug potatoes was taken down from its place above the dining table, and replaced with a photo of an atomic bomb exploding at night over the Nevada desert.  My father worked for the Lawrence Radiation Laboratories in Livermore, California.  For weeks on end he was away, joining engineers and scientists, testing nuclear bombs in... [more]

 
 

Are You There, Papa?

The web of Alzheimer’s disease is a thief of the worst sort. Much like a spider, it sucks out bit by bit a loved one’s mind and personality so that eventually only a barely functioning shell remains. The web reaches through the brain of the afflicted, tangling it with plaques so they can no longer think or communicate, and the person they once were disappears.   

 

My father’s dementia was well along in... [more]

 
 

My Sister, My Mother

One hot summer day about five years ago, I found my sister deceased in her apartment.  I felt that her Spirit had definitely departed. Thankfully, she was with God, but it broke my heart at the time. Although 12 years apart, we were close as our mother suffered from severe bouts of depression. She took care of me.

 

Three years of difficult probate followed to get her affairs in order.  Now, I’m glad... [more]

 
 

My Mentor

As a child, I listened to the story of Saul's conversion and transformation into Paul.  The story made it sound easy; well, maybe a little scary too.  Saul is on the road to Damascus and God comes to him.  Paul's transformation overtakes him.  He does not have to choose to be transformed.

 

Cancer is like that too.  You don't choose to have cancer.  It is something that happens to you.  What I missed... [more]

 
 

Teach Your Parents Well

Sometimes Light comes to us as a gentle glow, other times a glaring searchlight. Raising kids is a crash course in blinding light and the afterglow. One event stands out among many.

 

My sister-in-law was fighting cancer in California. On a school night at dinnertime we received a phone call, alerting us that Chris had been hospitalized.  No one knew the prognosis, but the doctors were running out of options. Despite the urgency, we couldn’t quite... [more]

 
 

One Shining Light

Editors’ note: This story may be a trigger for victims of abuse.  Please make sure you are in a safe place when you read.

 

One night when I was ten, I woke up to an overwhelming presence. My 13 year old brother, M knelt beside my bed with his head down in shame. A pair of scissors lay by my side. My panties, my privacy, and my sense of safety had all been... [more]

 
 

My Mother's Gift

My mother, Louzelle, was the clearest and earliest manifestation of God for me.  She was spiritually and physically present in her quiet, strong love, which never stopped even when our paths diverged.  She taught me, by being herself, to see “unseen” things like intentions, the heart of a person, beauty, God’s love.

 

Mom was the youngest of six children.  Her father was a Welsh immigrant who became a County Judge in Oklahoma and traveled the “circuit”,... [more]

 
 

Left Behind

It’s a lesson too late for the learnin’

made of sand, made of sand

In the wink of an eye my soul is turnin’

in your hand, in your hand. . .

Are you goin’ away with no word of farewell,

Will there be not a trace left behind?

[Lyrics from Last Thing on My Mind by Tom Paxton]

 

When I was 5 years old, my mother made one of those unfortunate mistakes that parents sometimes make with the best of intentions.

 

My mother, who... [more]

 
 

Hannah and Samuel (I Samuel 1) mixed media by Cody F. Miller

http://www.codyfmiller.com

Finding the Light in Hospitality

 

Young Friend's Story

 

Kate

 

Night Light

 

Held

 

She is My Light

 

Against the Tide of Cruelty

 

Are You There, Papa?

 

My Sister, My Mother

 

My Mentor

 

Teach Your Parents Well

 

One Shining Light

 

My Mother's Gift

 

Left Behind