the three new stages of cubbie.

1) i’ve reached a new stage in my transition.

now, when i make eye contact with and smile at men, they look at me funny.

i have no idea what to do with that, especially in light of that whole “walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of god in everyone” thing.

how do i live my gender & my faith and not get punched in the face? how is it that the traits that i’m cultivating in my quaker life have already been socialized into me via the gender i was raised in– listening, caring, smiling at people in the street? is quaker essentially feminine? (WHAT DOES THAT MEAN ANYWAY!?) and then, also, why are there so many more men in my meeting than women? is that across the board in quakerism?

2) i’ve reached a new stage in my quakerism.

i went to the war anniversary march and rally on wednesday evening. most of the local quakers had participated in civil disobedience (or holy obedience as someone said today) in the morning, but because of work, i couldn’t do that. but a few of us were able to meet at the evening event.

there weren’t a lot of us, but i think it was good that we were there. i think it was good for us, and also good for the atmosphere to have us still and silent and peaceful at this rally where people were proclaiming that need for the end of war “by any means necessary.”

for me, the most incredible experience was when a man came up to me and talked. at first i was very nervous, because i wasn’t sure if i would be clear or correct, or if i would make myself and/or quakers look stupid. so instead i just listened to him. he had a lot to say, and i smiled (and made eye contact) and nodded and made sympathetic faces and noises, and i didn’t say anything. he talked for awhile, and then clamped me on the shoulder and said he felt better.

i said, “thank you.”

that was one of those “yeah, i’m a quaker and i’m so glad” moments.

3) i’ve reached a new stage in my theology.

quakers don’t do holidays, because we’re supposed to be living those holidays all the time.

but i also think there is a human need for holidays and remembrances and things. to remind us. maybe we should always remember, but it’s nice to be reminded.

i particularly get the winter holidays. how else would we get through winter without hopeful feasts of light and love?

it’s funny that i get them, because i grew up in florida. and i attribute my florida childhood to the reason why spring holidays don’t move me as much. light in the darkness grabs me more than the gradual entrance of surrounding light. part of it is that i’ve got horrible flower allergies, so i meet spring with some nervousness, dread, and pain each year.

AND, as i’ve been contemplating jesus and the meaning of his life, i’ve gotten stuck at that last bit. that death and resurrection bit. i’ve known it as a story from my childhood that means something on a deep level to many people– and there death has made sense, but the idea of a literal resurrection has been such a block for me that i haven’t been able to figure out the metaphor.

and then last night, during the young adult quaker movie night, we watched “portrait of a radical” from the series “crisis of faith.” it was about jesus and his life and what it meant. and i don’t think it was said, but suddenly something clicked and i could understand the resurrection as that amazing realization that jesus’s life and spirit didn’t end with his death. which is something i’ve been contemplating lately anyway– how to live a christlike life and stuff… and so the joy of realizing that sort of resurrection made sense.

it’s interesting because for me, my own easter happens over halloween. the anniversary of my father’s death and being faced with the world’s mockery of death brings me to a place of reflection about the power of life and love. i mourn over his self-destruction and remember that there can be so much more for me. i don’t have to drown in myself and the world. i can keep going, keep loving, keep living.

it’s not exactly the same of course. my father is not christ, my own human potential is not what easter is about, but the sense of transformation is similar, i think.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yay cubbie!

    1) I think Quakerism is masculine and feminine since it is very action-oriented but also stillness-oriented, although that is not about gender but traits.

    I don’t know why there are more men in our Meeting than women. Maybe it’s cuz people still mix up Quakers with the Amish and that both are seen as old-fashioned and therefore not applicable to our modern world. No idea.

    2) Hmm, I like the term “holy obedience” although I think it is potentially dangerous depending on who is saying it for what.

    3) This is the first year Easter actually felt like it was about resurrection for me, and I think it was bc I was allowed to feel it for myself. That’s what I love about Quakerism. Also, in the silence I didn’t have to separate the obviously spring aspects of it from the Christian aspects, they all went together nicely and I could respect both parts equally.

    Halloween to me has never been about mocking death, although I guess that is what it is about. I went to a pagan event last Halloween and it was really lovely. They said that at that time of year the veil between the spirit world and ours was at its thinnest, and so we could more easily communicate with the dead in our lives. They told us to envision a boat gliding across the water, and getting in touch with our ancestors. For the first time I envisioned my Korean father (who died) and my ancestors watching over me, even though I am not in their country anymore. It made me feel like they are my guardian angels.

  2. It’s taken me a while to get to reading your post, cubbie, but maybe I was supposed to wait until First Day… At worship today, a Friend spoke about his own reflections on Easter, the crucifixion, and the resurrection.

    He ended up in a similar place as you: “the resurrection as that amazing realization that jesus’s life and spirit didn’t end with his death.” Someone else added how important it is to “die before you die.”

    Anyway, I also like how you’ve included and described the three stages of change for yourself. Thanks for sharing yourself in that way.

    Blessings,
    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up


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