Playing on Hard Mode

April 12, 2022 | Jen Higgins-Newman

New England Yearly Meeting hybrid gathering in a small auditorium. About thirty people are present.
Last weekend, I (Jen Higgins-Newman) helped put on New England Yearly Meeting’s first large hybrid gathering! 

My past few weeks have been full and challenging. I’ve had some wonderful experiences traveling among Friends for work and for service. But I’ve also been feeling uncertainty and repeated challenges in multiple areas of my life, without enough downtime in between to process the journey — with all of its tenderness and growth.

Today, I am sitting outside writing this message to you from our courtyard. Our magnolia tree, which last year was in full bloom at this time, is facing its own challenges. It began to bud a few weeks ago, only to face several very cold days. It’s only now beginning to bud again, but very slowly. Almost as if it’s hesitating to make sure it will be warm enough to flower. I wish I could tell the tree with some certainty that it’s okay to flower, but I can’t. 

We cannot stop the uncertainty, the challenges, or the pain of life from happening. As much as I personally wish I could. What I do know is that deep, real, authentic, messy community is an important way we can weather things when they are hard. And I am so thankful for the amazing Friends House residents, and others in my community, who are helping me process and grow and laugh. 

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