Into the Wilderness Together

December 14, 2022 | Jen Newman

Photos: This year’s holiday party included caroling for the first time since 2019! We also had ornament-making (which several children loved!) and a cookie swap (pictured below). 

This past weekend we had our first snow of the year in Boston.

As a Californian, I find it so stark every year just how difficult it is to walk a well-known path in a snowstorm. I’m still filled with wonder at how snow transforms the world around me so suddenly. And yet, it’s also difficult to see the way forward with snow in your eyes and sticking to your hair.

Rachel Held Evans’ reflection on wilderness speaks so much to my condition this season:

“The path from unquestioning certainty to wholehearted vulnerability looks less like a wide, paved, flat boulevard than a winding, sometimes barely discernable track through steep hills and debris-strewn valleys. In other words, it looks a lot like a forbidding journey in the wilderness … Wilderness can be at once a place of refuge and a space of disquietude. It can be where you both sigh in relief and feel your heart pounding nearly out of your chest as you approach the unknown.” – Rachel Held Evans, Wholehearted Faith
This season, I have felt like I’m on that “winding, sometimes barely discernable track through steep hills” — but in a snowstorm. There is so much I don’t know and cannot yet know — and I definitely do not have all of the answers on my own. And yet, I know I am not alone in the journey, as none of us are alone in the journey.

As I reflect on our programs this past year, that sense of accompaniment and groundedness in community transcends the events themselves. Participants have shared this experience too, giving feedback like: “The movement of Spirit when we all came together and held each other tenderly was something I did not expect.” (This was from our program series on police and prison abolition).

This past weekend we also had our holiday party at the Friends House. The last few years, this gathering has been pretty quiet. But it was joyful to experience our house filled again with the sounds of singing, children playing, and friends laughing together this year.

One of the things I love about Beacon Hill Friends House is that I have met most of you who are receiving this message — and I can say with confidence and gratitude that all of you have made this year of community-building, social engagement, and growth and deepening possible.

Whether you have lived here, whether you have attended one program or many, whether you’re a part of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, or whether you’ve contributed to the house financially — you are a treasured part of our Beacon Hill Friends House community.

I look forward to continuing to navigate the wilderness with you.

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