The Gift of Traveling With Each Other
by Angel Ramos
"Being a Quaker is hard," I often find myself repeating as I learn to walk in the Light. I suppose it can be said of anything worth pursuing. Yet becoming, transforming, learning and eventually being is what Quakerism has become for me.
I find myself engaged in welcoming the formerly incarcerated home, especially those that attended worship services while inside. Trying to keep them connected to Friends and meetings is something I would like for them because it has enriched my life. I see Quakers as family. Former prisoners need good families to teach that which they have never known: an appreciation of life and the people in it. This lesson on family is reinforced whenever I go to Sessions at Silver Bay. I volunteer to drive people around so that I can be with them and learn that which they wish to share. In those small moments I listen, practicing an open heart, always with the hope I will take that with me when I leave. I suppose it is one place I can practice being my best self. When I come back home, I feel invigorated and that much more committed to my spirit. What a gift.
In a world tied up in the quest for material things it is often the spiritual life that needs tending. I chose to practice with my Quaker family because they have taught lessons that lead to the life of the spirit and the happiness of the soul. Like I said, being a Quaker is hard because it demands I be my best self in all situations with all people. Not an impossible task as I am no more broken than the next person, yet I feel like I am always struggling to catch up with my spirit.
As a convinced Friend, when I travel with others and help them remain faithful to their calling by listening to them, praying with them, and helping them move along their spiritual quest, I am engaged in eldering of a sort. I am modeling a behavior taught by my Quaker family; allowing my best self to thrive in the moment. I suppose I fail a lot, yet I keep practicing in the hope I get it right.