I went to a F/friend's birthday party last weekend at the meeting house. The first person who talked to me was a young Friend (perhaps 15) and he said, "Where did you graduate from college?" This young person assumed that because I was an adult at a Quaker meeting, I have a college education. It colored my whole night. I withdrew. I was upset and crabby.
It makes me wonder what God is saying to me right now.
I am living my passion, and trying to live up to my Light. If I could do anything I wanted in the world, I would write. All the time. But my working class upbringing cuts against this effort. On a cellular level, I feel guilty just writing. Yet when I write, I blossom in ways I never thought I could. And people are moved by my writing.
Just not Quakers.
Before going back to school, I really thought I was a bad Quaker. I didn't say the right things in the right way. Being at school has taught me that I'm not a bad person or stupid. It's taught me that, in fact, I'm quite bright and what I have to say and do is valuable.
When Friends read my blog, they want to argue with me. They want me to hear how their experiences are exactly like mine when they're not (because they did not grow up working class). They want to use my experience to invalidate me. Supportive people email me privately but few post public comments.
In September, I blogged about Friends and education and where that fits in our testimonies. Someone at my school read my post (perhaps because I linked to my school's website) and it's spread through the campus like a virus. I've gotten a dozen emails from people about my blog. Several people I've never met want to meet and talk about class, including the president of the university. A sociology professor I've never had sent me an op-ed he wrote that affirms my experience of class.
And once again, school is providing affirmation and an outlet for my passion. Quakerism sure does look like it's providing a big fat wall. That or God's putting a wedge between me and Quakerism.
A God-sized wedge.