Her shoulder was next to mine. Eleanor is 82, a sturdy, quiet woman. A naturalist, Eleanor loves birds, and birdsongs. She has gone far distances to record the songs of many birds. Her demeanor reminds me of a bird: small, quiet, watchful, not wanting to be in anyone’s way.
Usually Eleanor just sits quietly during Quaker Meeting. Today however, she spoke. Her voice gravely, and quiet, she asked, “What is Spirit, anyway?”
As Quakers, we try to speak simply, and from experience – given that’s all we truly can know. After quiet moments of reflection, I softly offer this response to Eleanor:
"Spirit is in the birdsong, in the breeze, in the illuminated autumn leaves. Spirit is in our breath, in the beat of our heart. Spirit is in our center – that calm place of peaceful understanding. Spirit is the quiet voice we hear.Spirit is in the rain, and the reflection of the moon in the rain. Spirit is the warmth radiating from a friend’s eye. Spirit is in joy, in sorrow, in exuberance and exhaustion."
"Spirit is here with us now."
I feel Eleanor’s shoulder next to mine. I hear her sigh a Knowing sort of sigh. “Oh.... ” I look, and see the warmth in a Friend’s eye. A tender smile, a feeling of Friendship between us.
Spirit is here, now.