Yet once again I’m sitting in the back of the meetinghouse, feeling sorry for myself, wishing not so much to get back my lost theology as wishing there was something to fill the void of that loss.  Hearing everyone else happily singing the songs that once spoke of my faith, seeing others who are content with their knowledge and experience of God, feeling isolated, I find myself thinking, "I don't belong here."

 

Before you can understand the impact of what happened next, you need to know a bit about my previous church experience, where women were expected to be under the authority of men. This didn't just mean that women were not pastors, but were not to speak during the meetings for worship, even to read Scripture.  Helping pass the communion plates was a visible and thus "authoritative" task limited to those with a Y chromosome.

 

Back to poor little me, sitting by myself with my sad thoughts, rather sure that this God-person, whatever he/she/it was, had led me to West Hills Friends but not comfortable enough with myself to be comfortable anywhere, and the words, "I don't belong here" come into my head.  Before my thoughts can go any further, I hear The Voice speak chidingly, "You know you belong here."

 

At that instant, Ron Fieldhouse walks over and whispers that he needs help with taking the collection.  Getting to my feet, receiving from him one of the small baskets, walking up the left aisle, I take my place. With each pass of the basket among these rows of Friends, it takes a bit of effort not to laugh out loud.   I try to handle the basket with great authority.  

 

God's timing is perfect.

—Julie P.