“I’m shocked there is a process” for Quaker excommunication, disownment, whatever, she said.
“There has to be,” I said. That surprised her, and she stared at me for a few seconds.
“To see from so many aspects,” she said.
“It is a huge gift,” I said. I sympathise. I see where they are coming from. I simply want a solution to include me in the decision-making.
“They may be too frightened to take you back.
“How do you feel about it?”
My comfort zone has restricted to a point. I am a beaten cur cowering in a corner. I am frightened to go out. I do not want to see anyone.
Take that as a compliment. I trusted your unconditional positive regard so trusted enough to speak to you. I don’t want to see anyone else. I have phoned a couple of people.
I had the thought this morning, I passionately desire you not to disown, disfellowship, what’s the dry phrase- termination of membership. I want to remain a Quaker. I thought there was a possible explanation of that which would be unhealthy. I could not bear the judgment that I was so unbearable, so I needed them to affirm my value because I could not affirm it myself. I am pretty sure that is not my motive.
Oh wow. Can I say that? Is it true? I can!
I have worked out for myself I am acceptable.
After the low point of despising myself that I came to, reaching this point is pretty impressive.
I want to be in a Quaker meeting because I want the experience of worship. This is therapeutic, but that is a by product: I am seeking the Inner Light, that is, doing what I am supposed to be doing, though it is more difficult for me than some Quaker writings might seem to imply. The inner light is worth seeking.
Quakers give me my opportunity to be a contributing intellectual: for years the only times people have paid for my writing (though not paid me) has been in Quaker publications, and most of my audiences have been Quaker.
Having been disowned, or TM’d under 11.30c, I could still attend worship, but would feel compunction or constraint. Now I do it as of right, with equals, then I would feel tolerated (if that) and separate. The loss might stop me attending at all.
It is the Religious Society of Friends, and I want that friendship. I want to talk with my intellectual and spiritual equals and to stimulate and be stimulated. I know people value what I say, and even if one felt “collared inescapably” over coffee, others enjoy my company, even seeking me out. You can’t get on with everyone.
The beaten cur explores tentatively, glances round furtively. What might be possible?
“I hope you write,” she said. Of course. It is pouring out of me. It is my way of exploring. “I’m in awe of your writing ability,” said someone. Another told me I should write a book, though I still don’t see that as possible or worthwhile. What I write now, exploring from different positions, may not be what I come to eventually.