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Thank you to those of you who held me and my neighborhood in the Light as we met to discuss my city’s plans to build at least 66 units of housing for the formerly homeless here. Your and my Meeting’s support made it so much easier for me to stand up and say to my neighbors that I welcome formerly homeless men and women into housing here, knowing that many of my neighbors will be very, very angry with me.
As I have advocated for homeless men and women in my neighborhood, I have met many people who see the world very differently from what I do. The responses to my op-ed piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and discussions with neighbors who oppose mixed-income housing here have opened my eyes to just how common it is in this society to operate with gradations of people: some people are good and some people are bad. Many of my neighbors seem to see homeless people as unworthy and harmful to their surroundings, and most people in houses as deserving and beneficial to their surroundings (except for housed people like me who welcome homeless people, I guess we are traitors?). I have a brand new appreciation of how unique it is that Quakers insist that EVERYONE is a beloved child of God, that each person is the bearer of “that of God”.
Knowing that I have a whole faith community, both past and present, that stands with me has been a great source of comfort to me as I have faced my neighbors’ wrath. I was flooded with gratitude when I asked for my Meeting’s prayers and my on-line community’s support, and in so doing became aware that I was presuming that my fellow Quakers would be supportive. I would not presume that in any other setting, and I know other homeless advocates do not presume that their faith community will stand with them on this issue.
I am grateful to be a Quaker today.
Query for prayerful consideration:
What aspects of Quakerism fill me with gratitude?