a meeting of Friends

Bel Air, MD

This weekend was such a relief that I'm not sure where to begin or how to sum it up. Saturday afternoon, after a wash in beautiful Octoraro Creek, we were picked up by a couple young guys in a red sports car blaring Rage Against The Machine—not your stereotypical good Samaritans—who proceeded to drive us up and down the shores of the Susquehanna River showing us the sights. Then zipped us across the wide dam there. (A godsend, since we weren't allowed to walk across it as planned.)

Jason and Greg took us right to the church we hoped to visit the next morning. There we found a cluster of boxwood trees that formed a leafy little cave next to the (very old) cemetery and settled in for the night. It was a Quaker meetinghouse, Deer Creek Meeting. I don't usually mention church denominations or names, but we had such a great experience there, I want to remember that community.

Sunday morning we met Mary, who had accidentally arrived early, and talked with her for an hour before the meeting. She then suggested to the small group that had gathered that Heather and I give a short talk about our walk before their silent prayer time (which makes up most of the worship). So we did talk to the Friends there and answered questions. When someone asked us to lead them in a prayer to close, I offered Charles DeFoucault's prayer, "Father, I abandon myself into your hands..." Then we prayed in silence together.

The rest of the day it rained, but we were incredibly well cared for. Many came up to us after the meeting, offering encouragement, praise, and gifts. Mary took us home for a lunch of fresh rainbow trout (and Heather's vinaigrette), and our first real shower in a week. Then Paul and Sarah, two other Friends, invited us all for dinner. And another Friend, Becky, was there too, and brought us vegetables from her garden. We had a feast of rotisserie rosemary chicken and fresh sweet corn, wine, raspberry ice cream from a local dairy, and lots of lively conversation and encouragement. We were overwhelmed by the gift. After a very hard and lonely week-and-a-half, we were bathed in friendship and support.

Mary even took us to the next library on this rainy morning. Now we're clean and refreshed, with money for food all week. We should be with friends in Washington, DC, before the week is out. Just in time for Heather's birthday.

I'm so grateful. For the lessons of these past days, and for God's mercy in our weakness and generous care through our new friends.