In the presence of God and these our Friends

I remembered this morning why I come to yearly meeting.

20 years ago, I went to Pacific Yearly Meeting for the first time with my husband and our two year old child. The first day was pretty horrible. It was super hot. Eating and sleeping in a new place was a challenge for our two year old. And his parents. We were all pretty cranky. But then he had a really good time at the children’s program. He woke up the third morning saying, “Mommy? I want to go to schooool.” (The preschool program was in a kindergarten classroom.) So I got him to the program pretty quickly on the third day and I made it to the plenary worship for the first time.

I walked in to a meeting for worship with 400 Friends for the first time in my life. As I sat down and settled into worship, it was like sinking into a pool of cool water. I breathed more deeply. And I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with me and among us. Over the years, I return to that experience in my mind as an example of why I come to yearly meeting.

This morning, after about 24 hours of being cranky about a range of things, I arrived at plenary worship at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting annual sessions. And I had that same sensation of sinking into cool water. Of being in the presence of God and Friends. And I remembered, this is why I come to yearly meeting.

The actual people who are here are trying. They have their issues. Some Friends aren’t here, that’s their choice. The business needs to get done. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes not. But that is par for the course of life. That doesn’t change my experience of the presence of God among Friends.

This is the most important reason why I come to yearly meeting sessions every year.

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