Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The gift of simplicity

This entry should really have been up yesterday, but I have the most enjoyable of all excuses for its late arrival - we had Meeting for Worship in my home on Sunday :) These small meetings have been an occasional thing so far, but it was decided on Sunday that they should be monthly now, about which I am absolutely delighted!

Normally I would have rested on Sunday afternoon after all the excitement of having visitors, but like an idiot I pushed on with a hat I was knitting for a deadline. That, combined with having had a broken night's sleep (my oxygen machine packed up, and I had to go onto a cylinder) meant that by Sunday night I had thoroughly crashed. I was asleep for most of yesterday (Monday), but I'm starting to poke my nose out and blink now...

For the first time in many meetings, I spoke. I was quite taken aback to feel that familiar

excuse me

excuse me

and, for once, I didn't need to wait until it became


before I gave in and spoke :)

And what I said was (more or less) this:

We are going to become an important help to people in this credit crunch/depression. So many people use shopping as a band-aid over the emptiness in their lives, and get into more and more debt doing so. There just won't be the consumer credit available any more to do this, nor the money available to service the debt, and people are going to be left without their prop.

We know the joy of freedom from acquisitiveness and the retail therapy culture. We can demonstrate the joys to be had in simplicity and not buying things for the sake of buying them. People are going to need that voice, that perspective. We have the experience people will need in finding support in non-material things, and we will be able, if we choose, to share that.

We all agreed afterwards that sometimes a problem can bring out the best in people (the old 'Blitz spirit'!), and we all hoped that this would be the case over the next few months.

As BYM Advices and Queries no. 41 says:

A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength.

And if you don't invest your happiness in things, then it can't be taken away by bailiffs....


RichardM said...

How nice that meeting was held at your home! As we are a very small meeting we meet at the home of one of our members.

I too have been thinking that times may favor an appreciation of our testimony of simplicity. In boom times our testimony seems quaint to most people. In times of war our peace testimony seems naive. But sticking with those testimonies no matter what others think is what gives us credibility over time. We can testify to simplicity and peace because we have lived this way day in and day out and when you do you come to know by experience that the testimonies are true.

I find that even among Quakers there is a shaky understanding of the testimonies. Since it is a religion which (these days) attracts a lot of intellectuals they understand the testimonies in a very intellectual way. But, despite the fact that I count as an intellectual myself, I think that this is a misunderstanding of what a Quaker testimony is. A testimony isn't a theory; it's a way of life.

Jan Lyn said...

What a wonderful vocal ministry, Heather and I'm so glad for you to have Meetings more frequently!

"A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength."

This advice/query is so true and a source of freedom for me as well as strength.

Bless you girlfriend! ooxoo

Heather said...

Richard, that is such a good point. When non-Q people hear 'testimony', I think they might think of preaching, and spoken ideals; what we have is life experiences that bear out our beliefs. Thanks for reading, and for commenting.

Heather said...

Jan - I'm really looking forward to those Meetings! Thanks for reading :)