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I occasionally say something at the Quaker Meeting when I go, but rarely. Today I felt like standing up and offering my thoughts.

I was very emotional when I said these words and I had to stop a few times to compose myself and to steady my voice because what I said felt hard to admit. It’s nothing new, I say this stuff all the time, but in the setting of the meeting house where there is great respect for sharing honest thoughts from the heart I felt a reverence for the truth in my words, and I cared about the fact that everyone hears that when you speak.

I want to tell you what’s on my mind this morning so I hope you’ll bear with me while I try to tell it. I was one of the people who came in late to Meeting this morning, so I just want to say thank you to everyone for being here, but especially to those who came in late because I appreciate that you decided to come at all. I got up this morning and felt strongly compelled to be here today and I think that is because of a phone call I got last night. It was my mother’s dear friend, a lifelong friend really, who wants to stay in touch with me even though my parents are long gone. She appreciates our family and staying in touch with me helps her keep a connection with my parents whom she loved. I don’t have family anymore because my mother died six years ago and my father four, and my sisters and brothers are gone because our parents fostered a distrust amongst us so we are all on our own now. My mom was an orphan so a whole side of the family is missing, and my dad had two sisters, but one is gone and the other ran away. I really don’t have much family at this point, besides my husband’s family (who are wonderful). So it matters to me a lot that Shay, my mother’s friends called last night. It reminded me of the strength of the bonds that are formed in our spiritual communities since she is a friend made through the church that I attended growing up. I went to my other church this morning as well, the Presbyterian church, where we’ve had a big ugly fight and half the congregation left to make their own church elsewhere. Things are much better now. When I went there, and in coming here, I look around and see the faces of people I have known and who have known me for many years. Since I don’t have the extended family it matters to me that there are people from my past still with me. I look to my spiritual communities for this kind of connection. So I appreciate all the people that are here today because you are the witness to what I want to say, and because you bothered to be here for me. I wrote a book about my life, about the path I’ve been on so far, which is my way of telling people what is on my mind. That’s what I’m doing this morning as well, just saying what’s on my mind.

The message that followed mine was about what it means to be silent in meeting and how we support one another through the simple act of our presence, and another was about offering hugs as a means of support. Lots of people gave me hugs after meeting for worship today.