ONE CHANGE

As I said at the time …

Daily encounters are full of times I fall short of the Quaker / Christian ideal. At least I see others in Meeting who do much better on this front.

One way the faith has changed me, though, is in teaching me when to sit on a problem, rather than force a solution (as long as this isn’t mere avoidance, which is a different situation). As the saying goes, “Some of the best barns in Rhode Island were designed in Quaker Meeting.” (Yes, Silas Weeks liked to enlarge it to “New England.”) Maybe you know the postcard:

NOTICE, I AM A QUAKER.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY,
PLEASE BE QUIET.

I think it’s part of the process we see extending to our decision-making as a faith community, and how much it’s lacking when we’re engaged in a business session elsewhere. The divisiveness, egotism, us-versus-them mentality that so often prevails, the rush to judgment, the name-calling or the boss calling the shots, and so on. The desire to appear decisive or in command. You know all the symptoms.

On the other hand, some of the best headlines I’ve written have been by taking a break when I was stuck – by stepping aside to walk down the hall or to the bathroom. Release the problem, for a minute or two break. And then the answer appears. No need to feel guilty, is there? A little quiet, and voila, originality or productivity, as they would say. A barn or a headline, all in the job, as we Friends know, all the same.

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