Early in our marriage my wife, Jerilynn Radcliffe, and I followed up on a recommendation of a college friend and attended Meeting for Worship at Radnor. After an extended period of silent worship punctuated by personal messages of spiritual discovery, several Friends warmly welcomed us. They were clearly pleased to be visited by a young couple. It was apparent that these veteran seekers found benefit and satisfaction by faithfully carving out precious time each week (and often each day) from outward business in order to discern their deepest calling. Before long, we attended Meeting regularly. We found nourishment in this worship community that supported one other to discover Divine calling, described as “The Light.” We also found models of integrity by attempting to live in the Light from moment to moment. The community within Radnor Friends Meeting became our spiritual home.
I came to treasure this time of “emptying”, of letting go, and consequently experienced a subtly growing sense of connectedness within myself. I experienced this at first as a knitting together of my own scattered attention, then a greater connection with my fellow worshippers (especially as I began to know more of texture of their lives, their gifts and challenges, as well). Ultimately I became more aware of the deep connection I have with my global brothers and sisters, and of the existential web that holds all living beings on this planet, both past and present. While worshipping along with the many great souls at Radnor, each devoted to a deep search for truth, I became convinced that in this space, I had access to the ground of my being. Over the more than four decades of participating in the evolving community of Radnor Friends Meeting, in being served and serving, whether listening or speaking, following or leading, I have become more likely to adopt Quaker practice instead of acting, speaking or thinking impulsively, my usual pattern. Douglas Steere, a Radnor Meeting leader who passed away several years ago, occasionally reminded us, quoting a seventeenth century Quaker, Isaac Pennington, “There is that near you which will guide you. Wait for it. Be sure ye keep to it.” I have found this to be wise and challenging counsel. It is easy to be distracted from one’s deepest purpose, but Quaker practice, its testimonies, and the beloved community -past and present- help me remember the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I often fail at living from a spiritual grounding, but practicing with my spiritual sisters and brothers has enriched my life immeasurably!