Love makes a family

Time out from writing about my convergent leading to write about Quarterly Meeting.

The children's program went well. The general theme for the Quarter was about how our personal choices intersect with our global responsibility for the earth. The children's theme was about water. The elementary school age group talked about where our water comes from, how much there is on earth and where to find it, how water gets clean or dirty, our favorite places to be in or around water, and the questionable ecology of flush toilets.

Note: It was only a few years ago that a Friend pointed out to me that we pee and poop in perfectly good drinking water. This is perhaps better than the previous system of emptying chamber pots out second story windows, but there are other options. If you want to know more, say so and I will blog further about them.

But that's not what kept me awake at 1:00 this morning. I was actually worrying about the teenagers. The teen group was spending the night at our meetinghouse. Right before my family left for the evening, there was a minor commotion about the teens who wanted to go out somewhere, after dark, in our inner city neighborhood. Or maybe some of them had already gone. I don't know exactly.

I do know that I confronted some who were outside (and complaining about the locked doors) about the rule that the doors to our meetinghouse need to stay closed and locked if there isn't someone standing right there. One boy asked, "Why?" I said, incredulously, "So that people don't walk in who have no business being here and walk out with stuff that doesn't belong to them." Another boy asked, "Does that really happen? Has that happened here?" I said, "Yes. Not today, that I know of, but yes, it has happened." In fact, one of the standard announcements after our meeting for worship is to keep your personal belongings close to your person so that they don't go anywhere without you. But these kids hadn't heard that. I realized that they had all arrived for the Quarterly Meeting that morning, but perhaps they hadn't gotten any kind of orientation to staying in our building. Like the rule is to be sure that the doors are completely closed and locked after you go through one. So I found one of their chaperones and said these kids need to know that the doors have to stay locked. (This I think led to the controversy about what they had been doing outside.) However, having opened this can of worms, I turned around to follow my husband and children out the door, since we were going home. The parents of teens who were still there were starting to investigate the situation, and I'm sure they handled it. But I felt badly that I should have stayed a few minutes longer to help explain the rules and reasons, as a member of the host meeting.

Anyway, at 1:00 in the morning, I was lying awake and worrying about what might have happened. I felt like this was my punishment for not being faithful earlier in the evening. I also realized this was a taste of things to come, this is what it will be like when my sons are teenagers. Yikes. In fact, the next time College Park Quarterly Meeting comes to San Francisco, my son WILL be 13.

During meeting for worship this morning, I was reflecting further on this. I am not related to any of these teens, by blood or marriage. But I was still worried about them, like they were my own family. Just because they are part of my religious society. We are Friends.

Which reminded me that it is love that makes a family.

More of the message that didn't rise to the level of vocal ministry:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise God all creatures here below!
Praise God above ye heavenly host!
Praise God and Christ and Holy Ghost!

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