Growing Together in the Light

A place for Friends and others to explore Quakerism. A place where, in the Light that comes from God, we may all grow and where we may hope to find a unity that underlies our diversity of language.

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Raised a Friend, I am currently a member of Fresh Pond Meeting in Cambridge, Mass. I am also active in Salem Quarterly Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Specks and Beams

On Friday night a week ago, I woke up and rubbed my eyes. It felt like something had gotten under my eyelid. It bothered me but I decided that it wasn't bothersome enough to get up in the middle of the night. (I was tired.) So I slept poorly and decided to call my doctor in the morning. He has Saturday office hours but it was the Martin Luther King holiday weekend and they were closed. It was still bothering me but not enough to keep me from doing what I had planned for the day. By the afternoon, my plans were done and my eye was starting to really bother me, so I called the on-call doctor and he sent me to the emergency room. I ended up waiting several hours. When they finally saw me they found and removed a tiny fleck of paint that was less than a 1/16th of an inch across. I went home and looked at the ceiling in my bedroom and there was a crack in the paint directly above my pillow.

This got me thinking. Here I was, I could not stand to leave a mote in my eye that was smaller than a mustard seed. In less than a day I couldn't stand it any more and had it taken out. Yet how many beams do I carry around in my eye that I don't even notice? Do I notice how my position of relative privilege prevents me from seeing the injustice and suffering around me? Do I notice the relationship between the military power of the United States and the wealth I enjoy? Do I notice that I use far more than my share of the world's resources? Do I notice the amount of carbon I put into the atmosphere? Do I notice that my my comfort is going to make the entire world less comfortable in my childrens lifetime? I could start a lumber yard with the beams in my eye.

Then I started looking at the beams that keep me from looking inward. The beam of pride that would let me think that I am somehow better and more deserving. The beam of the fear of death that keeps me from seeing my life in perspective. The beam of insecurity that keeps me from opening up to people. The beam of greed that causes me to see my needs but not the needs of others. All these beams and more I am familiar with and it doesn't bother me to carry them around in my eye. Yet I couldn't stand the speck for a day.

Blessings to all

Will T


Blogger E. Gordon said...

I love this line "I could start a lumber yard with the beams in my eye" and the general compactness of the message. We're used to hearing liberal Americans bemoan our comfort etc., but this sounds sincere - a useful meditation on the paint speck as symbol. Consider that it may also be a symbol of your sensitivity to all the motes in your eye, literal and metaphorical. Consider too, that your medical adventure may be a sign that some mote from among those you listed has at last been removed.

And the fact that it happened on MLK Day?...we're hard on ourselves around race. Sometimes it's good to stop and notice that something is gone, for good. glad to have found yr blog, read about it in FGC Connections and linked to it from mine.

January 24, 2009 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) said...

Amen, brother Will!

January 26, 2009 9:11 AM  

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