Just returned from our Yearly Meeting (Quaker speak for our annual get-together where we do business, socialize and seek and share Spirit with others–and eat, and laugh and watch how fast our children have grown since last year).
In one of my small groups, we were honored to have several youthful Friends with us. They worked diligently at following Quaker expectation and process. We use queries (we use short questions “queries” to help look inward for our truth and then share this truth with others–as we believe each of us can offer ministry and love through this format). One of those queries had many of us grey-haired Friends lamenting about “doing enough
for others.” Several Friends spoke of living compassionate lives by working with the poor and disenfranchised. Friends had worked in parts of the world with those who were refugees and who were starving and who had great medical needs.
And there sat our young Friends, taking in this wealth of information. Finally, one youthful Friend said, “Last summer I helped to build a performing arts center for some people who were into modern art and drama. At the time, I had a lot of fun and I thought I was being helpful, but I realize I should have volunteered my summer time to doing something more compassionate.”
His whole face looked sad. Dejection made his shoulders slump and his chest heaved with a deep sigh.
A couple of more older Friends shared their beliefs that they, too, needed to find endeavors that would help solve illiteracy and hunger and injustice. Our youthful Friend seemed to be somewhat lost in his own world of teenage inadequacy.
Although breaking our rules for sharing, I couldn’t help it–I had to speak to this youthful Friend and to those other youthful ears that were listening. “You worked to provide a place of entertainment. You enjoyed your work and those you worked with. You will have no idea what kind of arena you have built that one day may provide a play on the homeless, or a play about abusive relationships. The arts can be powerful tools of communication and teaching. We never know where our small, passionate endeavors will lead to. The ripple effects of our work are unknowns.”
Several of the older Friends smiled and nodded. The whole room turned into a warm hug. Spirit has a way of letting us know when we are on the right path.
“I never thought about it like that,” said our youthful Friend. He sat up in his chair, he made eye contact with everyone. He was giving himself “life” in and through Spirit. He was giving our small group life as well. “I really like the arts. I’ve thought about acting.”
A Friend shared about the ways in which our lives can speak for us as well as for others.
The next day I saw this youthful Friend with his peers. He looked, well, lighter–happier.
Ah, the ripple effects of Spirit and passion and youth and possibility.
Be gentle with Spirit and children and teens, who knows what can be accomplished when you put Spirit and passion into the same action?