This past Sunday I attended worship at a Quaker meeting. Quakers, who believe that the divine light is inside each of us and can be accessed by each of us without need of a mediator, usually don’t have a structured worship service, nor a clergy person who delivers a sermon. Instead, the community gathers and settles into a prolonged period of silence, and then, out of that silence, anyone who feels prompted by the Spirit will rise and speak what is on their heart.
Although it was a chilly morning outside, the meeting house was warm and made warmer by the crackling fire that was lit in the fireplace as worship began.
After a prolonged period of deep silence a few people began to rise and speak, and one of them delivered a message that moved me to tears.
She described how, when her son was three years old, they had a bedtime routine that included her reminding him, just as he was preparing to go to bed, to look for the beauty inside himself.
One night, unexpectedly, he changed the routine. Wide-eyed, he pressed his forehead against hers and reported the beauty he saw in her. “It’s like diamonds, mama!”
I was overcome by the beauty of the whole scenario: by the beauty of such wise parenting that trains a child to see his inner beauty — and consequently nurtures his capacity to see beauty in others — and by the thought of what the world would be like if each of us had been taught to look for the beauty within.Continue Reading