Thursday, October 23, 2008
Forest and trees
In considering my manner of blogging I have been given an image of a forest and my seeking a path or way in the forest. I am unclear as to whether my search will lead me through the forest or to a destination within the forest remains unclear.
One of the thoughts that triggered that image was the saying "You can't see the forest for the trees or you can't see the forest for the trees." Recently, in responding to the comments of some Friends, I realized that my reaction to the disagreement on the interpretation of words or passages in the Bible and in the writings of Early Friends was one of listening to comments on the very specific nature of a relatively narrow set of specific trees. (Being of a scientific nature and continuing the imagery of a forest I repetitively, redundantly used specific (re. species)) In earlier stages of my search (quest?) I examined very closely specific interpretations of Biblical passages using a number of different sources for the literal translations of the original language and for varying interpretations of the meanings. I was, and at times still remain, a very analytical INTJ student. However, I have reached the point at which I need to see the "larger picture" of the forest from numerous perspectives and am less focused on individual specifics.
My plan and hope is to share some of the path I have traveled along the way. In doing so I wish to recognize many "guides" and guide books that have helped and/or hindered in finding my way. I believe there is one True Guide that utilizes one Voice, but I have barely, even if that, had an experience of direct contact with that still small voice. However, I firmly believe that I have met many individuals and read many "guide books" that have helped in my understanding of the Way.
In this blog, I will describe my earliest experiences with such guidance and in future blogs continue the examination of other sources. At a very young age my two guides were my mother and father. I remember them both actually and metaphorically(?) holding one of my hands as I started to learn to walk on my own. My mother remained close at hand with a gentle voice and touch as I continued to grow. My father was present but often seemed to be going ahead along a familiar path for him and with his voice he acted as a guide. (He was a Friends minister who said he never worked on Sunday and saw his "job" as working himself out of a job as others accepted their own leadership and ministry.) His voice usually was meant for a larger audience than just me, but the fact that he walked 24/7 the walk that he talked led me to pay closer attention even when I wandered away on my own for a while. It seemed that he would travel ahead and then come back to point out aspects of the way which provided assistance to my own search. As I look back over the past 60 years or so, I have grown to appreciate those signs he left and can see that the guide he was following and the still small voice he obviously heard have become signs toward the True guide and the Voice.
He and my mother introduced me to one of the best, if not the best, guide book that I have used and continue to use, the Bible. He also introduced me in my early teen years to George Fox's Journal and Barclay's Apology, but trusted me to do most of my exploration of those guide books on my own.
I began to realize the path I was seeking was one of great beauty and diversity while at the same time containing many snares, tangled underbrush, masses of brambles, and other barriers, some of which seemed insurmountable but through which the path led.
I have many doubts about my undertaking this "journal/blog" but do have a distinct feeling of being led in this direction. By whom or toward what end is seen "through a glass (mirror?) darkly" but trust that my journey will lighten my continuing search for the Way.