I have mixed feelings about posting about this on here, as I like to present myself to you all as firm and happy in my Quaker faith. But the truth is that I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out for the last few months. Part of it is real life: I have surgery coming up in 10 days, lost my cat 2 months ago, my health issues are acting up in a really bad way… Life hasn’t been leaving me much energy recently.
But I used to not think of attending Meeting for Worship as requiring energy. Yes, it involved getting up two hours earlier than normal, but the fatigue was always worth it. Now I’ve only been to Meeting for Worship something like three times in the last two months, and, honestly, I haven’t been missing it much.
It’s not because I don’t still believe that Quakerism is my religious home. It’s not because I think another kind of worship other than silent, expectant waiting would be better for me. It’s because, quite simply, I am tired of being put on the defensive at my Meeting.
I am tired of the assumptions being made that when I speak about our “same gender issue” problem, I’m doing it to “stir up trouble” and not because I’m following a leading. I’m tired of the assumption being made that because I wasn’t born a Quaker, or raised a Quaker, or haven’t been a Quaker for 40+ years, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m tired of having to prove that I’m actually following a leading and not just allowing my ego to “stir up trouble”. I am tired of offering myself to my Meeting, and being told, “Gee, thanks, but we don’t see the problem”, which implies that, once again, I’m just trying to “stir up trouble”.
I’m just tired, ultimately. And, sure, my current health issues (such as neck and jaw inflammation) would make attending Meeting for Worship very painful… but in the past, it would have been worth it. Now? I’m not so sure.
The fact is that my Monthly Meeting has become, overall, a source of stress in my life. I’m still being nurtured most of the time by my committee work, which gives me hope. But it wasn’t committee work that drew me to Third Haven, but the worship. And my experiences in Meeting for Worship recently have been less and less spiritually nourishing, because they’ve been tainted with the “stir up trouble” claim.
I am considering taking some time off from my Meeting, maybe even the whole summer. I am concerned I’m not in the right state of mind to be helpful to my Meeting, that I am too angry, hurt, and frustrated. But I am also concerned that taking time off is a cop-out because I just don’t want to deal with my Meeting anymore. (And it’s so sad to me that I can even talk about my Meeting as something to “deal with”.)
A F/friend from Meeting, who no longer regularly attends, suggested I try another Meeting. This isn’t really an option until the fall, but I am considering it.
I’m just feeling very distanced from my Meeting right now; unfortunately, this has the effect of making me feel distanced from Quakerism, because most of my experience with Quakerism has happened through my Meeting. I am still hoping to come back to this blog and start writing again more regularly after I recover from my surgery, but I’m not sure about where I fit within Quakerism anymore. I feel like I’ve been labeled a troublemaker and this has me worry that maybe I am one.