As I continue to mourn the recent death of my mentor, Sherry Hutchison, and hear stories of how her life influenced, and continues to influence others, I think about how we can better live our own lives.
Teaching is not done by talking alone. It is done by how you live your life. My life is my teaching. My life is my message. Hanh, Thich Nhat. At Home in the World: Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk’s Life (p. 5). Parallax Press. Kindle Edition.
I am reminded of the words of Rabbi Michael Lerner at the memorial for Muhammad Ali. “The way to honor the memory of Muhammad Ali is to be Muhammad Ali today in our own lives.”
Quakers believe we should focus on our own lives, living as faithfully to what the Spirit of God is saying to us as we can. We don’t believe in trying to “convert” people to Quakerism, but hope other spiritual seekers will want to join with us based upon how we live our lives. In this way building the Beloved community Martin Luther King, Jr, often spoke about.
Part of living faithfully often leads to speaking out, though. Bringing attention to injustice and speaking for those who are oppressed. Speaking truth to power. Not conforming to the status quo.
ALL THAT WE ARE IS STORY.
From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship — we change the world one story at a time.
Richard Wagamese (October 14, 1955-March 10, 2017)