Home, Family, and Relationships
The queries for Sixth Month center on Home, Family, and Relationships. Families today cannot be defined by rigid parameters. Rather, family consists of those with whom we share love and life. This can be the family in our home or it could be an extended family of neighborhood, work relationships, or worshiping community. The first query of this month reminds us that our family, home, and relationships should be filled with “love, peace, happiness, friendship, and refreshment of spirit” and within these relationships, “the presence of God is experienced.” This, of course, does not mean that everything will always be the proverbial “bed of roses (though some may be blessed to have this gift), but that the approach to resolving any difficulties or dissension is based on love and the experience of God’s grace.
One of the advices for this month encourages “reliance upon God’s guidance and help for each day’s needs.” This continual turning toward God as a family is the key to solid, loving relationships. The oft-heard expression, “The family that prays together stays together” has merit. In a Quaker family, this is not limited to First Day Meeting for Worship, although regular participation in communal worship is encouraged. It also does not mean that there is a specific ritual in which all members must participate or certain prayers all must say – that is not the way of Friends. However, there should be some commitment to set aside quiet time daily for Spirit to work and nourish each person. This becomes the well from which the family draws when crisis looms or heavy decisions must be made. It grows the ‘habit’ of discernment that pervades our every breath.
So, as we sit with these Sixth Month queries and advices, we reflect on the nature of our closest relationships – those we consider our family – and discern those things that may need to change in order to bring ourselves and our loved ones closer to God and to each other.
Lisa Erazmus and Jan Dahm
Tampa Monthly Meeting