swanAs a child, new patent leather shoes made me feel holy. So did wearing crinolines and pinning a red rose to my navy blue duster on Mother’s Day. Painting plaster figurines of Jesus at Vacation Bible School made me feel holy.  I always painted his robe blue. Rededicating my life to Him made me feel holy and so did getting baptized behind our house in Pungo Creek.  At fourteen, I felt holy attending Victory Tabernacle Baptist Church with Bertie Mae. Sometimes after Sunday school we skipped the preaching and went up the road to the Dairy Queen for a sundae before hurrying back to catch the church bus home.  At twenty every bit of holiness drained out of me as I tried to fill the God shaped holes with alcohol, pot and LSD. At thirty-five after too many years of running on empty I set out in pursuit of holiness again.  I was drawn to the metaphysical.  A friend told me I had confused spiritualism with the spiritual but that didn’t keep me from embracing the Science of Mind Church where the services consisted of crystals healing, aura reading, and even psychic surgery.    Our small congregation gathered for the Harmonic Convergence at a pond in West Virginia. It rained.  Due in part to the post Harmonic Convergence let down, I grew away from Science of Mind and spent more years in a spiritual desert until at, forty-five, a friend invited me to attend a Quaker meeting with her. I found holiness in the silence of the meeting and the friendliness of the simple meals we shared afterwards. Today, I find holiness in the silent retreats at Pendle Hill and my new Friends Meeting in Southern Maryland. I find holiness in nature, in the silent glide of my kayak through the marshes, in the flight of the wild geese, in the mute swans and the nesting osprey.

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